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Government will not sacrifice welfare of the people


Veep John Mahama

Veep John Mahama

Vice President John Mahama on Tuesday assured Ghanaians that the Mills administration will not renegade on the social compact it has with the electorate by sacrificing their welfare on the basis of fiscal and monetary expediency.

“As a responsible government, we will not shirk our social compact with the people,” he said, adding that as long as the welfare of the people remained a human rights consideration, it would be the outmost concern of the State.

Addressing delegates at the on-going Social Watch General Assembly in Accra, the Vice President assured Ghanaians that despite the severe impact of the global financial crisis and its attendant distortions in government’s economic agenda, it would not reduce its investments in pro-poor programmes.

He said government had “its eyes wide open” to ensure that funds taken from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to stabilize the economy did not compromise its investments in poverty alleviation such as the school feeding, school uniform and agriculture programmes.

Mr Mahama appealed to Social Watch, a global human rights campaigner and development advocate, to work in tandem with other developing nations to challenge aspects of the international financial arrangements that are not in Africa’s interest.

He said African countries were among the hardest hit by the financial downturn although they contributed little or nothing to the factors that precipitated it. “We did not cause the crisis. We have no sub-prime mortgage problem. We own our property from mud houses to magnificent concrete edifices. Yet we face some of the harshest effects of the financial crisis.”

Mr Mahama said it would take years of painful measures to recover from the crisis and urged advocacy institutions like the Social Watch to serve as moral conscience in the global policy making, by advancing ideas that would be useful in refining the system.

He said it was against this backdrop that Ghana welcomed the broadening of the global policy dialogue by the role of the Group of 20 developing nations as against that of the eight most advanced countries and at the United Nations to bring some leverage in the global decision making arena.

Mr Mahama also asked the delegates to engage in neglected issues that have fallen off the radar of the international advocacy groups, such as price fluctuation, which he said was a “dangerous Achilles heel” for African economies. “I believe this issue deserves to be given more visibility in the laudable campaign work of groups such as Social Watch to ensure a more equitable global trading regime.”

Mr Roberto Bissio, President of the Watch, said the conference, which is being held on the theme: “People First,” was aimed at galvanising the people to demand accountability and transparency from their leaders in the management of national resources. He said those in leadership positions should be accountable to the people and not use their positions as conduit to enrich themselves.

Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, Convenor of NETRIGHT, a non-governmental organisation, asked African governments to prudently manage their resources to ensure that the vulnerable, who were still reeling from the financial crisis, were well-catered for.

Source: GBC NEWS

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