In a round-table discussion recently on "Private Sector Development" the CPP's Shadow Minister for Agriculture Ekow Duncan spelt out clearly his party's policy position.
Mr Duncan said that the starting point in dealing with the topic is the development policy framework of the various parties.
He posed the question - "WHAT IN YOUR VIEW IS THE GREATEST ECONOMIC OBSTACLE OR IMPEDIMENT TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR COUNTRY"?
The CPP Shadow Minister added that from the economic development management history of the NPP and NDC over a cumulative 29years, their answer has been the same. They consider INFLATION as the greatest impediment. Hence their policy of stabilisation that includes austerity measures such as expenditure cuts, freezing of employment, removal of subsidies, to bridge revenue and expenditure imbalances to attain the much coveted single digit rate of inflation.
He continued, saying they believe that the deficits distort the market and that in the NPP and NDC view, if the distortions are removed then you will have created what they call "an enabling environment" for the private sector to be the "engine of growth". Mr Duncan called this the development policy prescription of liberal democrats. "They are market fundamentalist who believe in the sanctity of the market. A liberal market economy in their view is the panacea and a sine qua non for growth and development. Their mantra is remove market distortions and growth and development will ensue" Mr Duncan said.
The CPP Spokesperson said further that after 29 years of this policy we know the state of the private sector and the country. The deficits that underlie the falling cedi and our poverty persist. And the private sector in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors is either moribund or certainly not growing in capacity, capability, efficiency and prosperity to promote growth. "It seems the two parties are managing the economy on behalf of others rather than Ghanaians for a fee that they use in running their electoral campaigns and buying political power".
He went on to say that the NPP and NDC are patently wrong in plain economic science in the diagnoses of the ailments of the economy. He added that Inflation is caused and therefore an effect of an economic malaise. Therefore if inflation is erroneously identified as a cause and simply attacked we are in actual fact treating the symptoms i.e. the effects of our economic malaise not the cause. "No wonder therefore that the disease of under production that causes the trade and revenue deficits that in turn leads to the depreciation of the cedi that causes inflation is the re-current vicious circle of our economy, Mr Duncan noted.
Ekow Duncan noted further that the CPP differs from the NPP and NDC in development policy concept because the CPP's answer to the question is that under-production and unemployment is the greatest impediment to our prosperity.
He posed a second question to the gathered and listening audience - "WHAT WOULD YOU RATHER NOT HAVE, RISING PRICES OR NO INCOMES? , adding that the answer will vindicate the foundations of the development policy of the CPP because all will definitely prefer to have incomes.
He said if everyone voted on their policy preferences, the CPP will and should win the election. Unfortunately "we vote along world banks" which imply that a vote for world banks divides the nation and a vote for the CPP unites the nation on the path of a development concept for prosperity.
The private sector development policy of the CPP is founded on the party's concept of the development of the productive resources of the country to satisfy domestic demand and export to achieve an internally sustained and balanced growth, full employment and prosperity. This Mr Duncan said will reduce our dependency on imports, reduce our trade deficit and generally reconstruct the colonial economy that has been inflicted on us.
Quoting Mr Duncan "The development philosophy of the CPP is derived from Nkrumaism. We are proud Nkrumaist and not liberal free market fundamentalists. Nkrumaism is the philosophy and ideology for development and decolonisation. It is a development policy guideline that is informed by and founded on our history of slavery and colonialism.
The CPP is the only political party in this country that has the relevant development policy guideline that is founded on the history of our country. Its context is anti-colonialism and nationalism. That is why the Akan name of our party is OMANBA PARTY and not any name coined in tribal nationalism.
The private sector is the partner of the CPP in the implementation of our policy to develop the productive resources of our country for an internally sustained and balanced growth and national prosperity.
The CPP therefore unlike the market fundamentalists NPP and NDC will intervene in the market to lend a hand and stimulate the private sector to secure the strategic investments that are our development imperatives. We shall go beyond the creation of an enabling environment for private sector development. Indeed our goal is the development of the capacity and capability of the private sector for international partnerships and participation in global economic and trade competition.
Our focus will be on the private sector in food and raw material agriculture for the production import substitutes in our food processing and beverage manufacturing sectors. These development approaches are thus part of our industrilisation efforts and will threfore be undertaken in partnership with the private sector in manufacturing. These will include - The production of corn, soya-bean, ground nuts, millet and sorghum to substitute hops barley and wheat in beer, flour, edible oil and poultry production. There is a potential saving of at least $600m that will transfer to the private sector in the production of these produce.
The growing of bast-fibre for production of jute sacks. The beneficiaries of our intervention will be the farmers in bast fibre production. The private sector producers of the item will earn a minimum of $300m that is hitherto paid to farmers in Bangladesh and elsewhere.
The cultivation of industrial sugar cane for the production of sugar, bio fuel and food grade ethanol. Current import expenditure for this item which exceeds $200m will be retained in the domestic economy for the benefit of our farmers.
The promotion of production of roots and tubers to compete with imported rice consumption in the food sector.
The cultivation of cashew, sheanuts and coffee to diversify our agricultural export commodity sector. The intensification of cocoa production and processing to meet current global supply deficits.
The development of our brick and tile industry to develop our construction material resources and reduce the level of clinker imports.
We acknowledge the implementation challenges of our policy initiatives in private sector development. Among these are its disorganised informal structure and low level of technological and managerial capability"
He continued saying that the CPP approach will be the encouragement of the formation of identifiable formal producer and marketing associations in primary production that will be the objects of the CPP's policy in extension of research and production technology, improved management techniques, marketing access, credit extension and a price support mechanism to sustain and increase production.
Mr Duncan noted further that "added to this will be the delivery of public goods and services such as research, land acquisition and water resource development that in totality will nurture and facilitate the creation of mega private sector entities that will be leveraged to invest in processing plants and provide support for large and small holders in primary production.
Our private sector development policy is geared towards the fulfilment of our development policy objectives to create employment, increase production in the food and raw material agriculture and manufacturing sectors, expand the formal sector and tax net to increase revenue, reduce our trade deficits, stabilise our currency and lower inflation rate".
He concluded his presentation saying that in the pursuit of an internally sustained balanced growth and development, the private sector under a CPP government will be the engine that will drive the achievements of these objectives. The CPP government will be the driver that will give direction to strategic development destinations. And consistent with the role of a responsible government, provide the fuel and lubricants to ensure that the engine performs efficiently to the determined destination where we will abandon poverty and find prosperity.
Ghana Must Work Again ..Yabre !!
CPP SHADOW MINISTER, AGRICULTURE