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Ghana Opposition Leader Pledges Solutions

FILE - Ghana opposition leader Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The leader of Ghana’s main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) says the current administration in Accra has been unable to jumpstart the country’s faltering economy to improve the lives of citizens.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says he plans to assemble a strong team of accomplished professionals to implement measures to better the living conditions of Ghanaians.

Akufo-Addo, who was in Washington to meet American officials as well as raise funds from NPP supporters in the diaspora, says his trip was a success.

In an interview with VOA, the former attorney general and foreign minister under former president John Agyekum Kufuor's government outlined plans to resolve the country’s socio-economic challenges.

“We first of all have to do something about the spiraling debt of our country, because if we continue building debt in the way that has been done in [President] John Mahama’s time, our future is going to be seriously compromised, seriously mortgaged," Akufo-Addo said. "Then we need to look at the things that we need to do to stimulate the Ghanaian economy because it’s like we’ve gone backwards. We are in recession.

“We need to do something about the cost of capital, so that private enterprise people can be able to be competitive," he added. "We need to do something about our fiscal regime so once again we have a fiscal system that is supportive and encourages local manufacturing local products and activity. We need to take measures that would stabilize our currency so that private sector operators can plan and project what they can do.”

But Seth Terkper, Ghana’s Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, says measures that the current administration have implemented have stabilized the the cedi, which he says injected energy in the economy.

He also says soon Ghanaians will benefit from government efforts to boost the economy and create jobs for youth. On a recent trip to Washington, Terkper vowed the government would make the economy soar again.

Voter list

Ghanaians go to the polls next year to vote in presidential, parliamentary and local elections. But the NPP has petitioned the Electoral Commission, demanding the electoral body compile a new voter list to be used in the general election. The opposition party claims the current voter list is compromised, which it says will undermine the transparency and credibility of the vote.

“There are all kinds of problems with the register …there are large numbers of foreigners who are on the register, minors and fake names," said Akufo-Addo. "We find that the register therefore is not fit for purpose ...This is a digitally created register [and], the minute you have scanned images, it means somebody is tampering with the data base of the register. It means it is compromised.”

The party’s demand, backed by other opposition groups, forced the electoral commission to establish a five-member panel of experts to consider the possibility of a new voter list. But the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and other civil society groups have rejected the demands of the opposition, saying the calls for a new voters list are misplaced.

Local media quoted Johnson Asiedu Nketia, general secretary of the ruling NDC, as saying the country doesn’t need a new voter list. He says the current voter list could be worked on to remove names of people who have died since the last elections.

“The periodic processes of deleting names of dead persons [among others] must be carried out on the existing one," he said. "The current biometric register must be maintained and tradition and conventions of cleaning up the register employed to ensure that the register is credible.”

Charlotte Osei, chairperson of the commission, says the electoral body will decide whether to compile a new register after receiving the report from the five-member panel.

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