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SPEECH: We are ready, and I am prepared- Mahama

SPEECH: We are ready, and I am prepared- Mahama

Closing remarks delivered by HE John Dramani Mahama at the NDC LAB Policy Dialogue- Friday, 23rd February 2024.

I am delighted to join you at the end of this all-important policy dialogue.

For the first time in the history of the party’s policy work, and before the finalisation of our manifesto ahead of a major election like the upcoming one, our dear party is already far ahead in preparing her policy proposals and options for the Ghanaian electorate.

With its vast pool of quality human resources, the NDC LAB was birthed at the right time to provide critical thinking and ideation around policy options and services, including rethinking our approach to governance and how to better the socio-economic conditions of the Ghanaian people.

I have been engaging and following the work of the NDC LAB since 2021. I have participated in some of your deliberations and have experienced your professionalism, meticulousness, attention to detail and, above all, love for the nation.

Comrades, as this dialogue marks another phase of the NDC’s policy development process, it is also the clearest indication of how far we have come as a party and our readiness for the elections of 2024.

There have always been ever-ready, well-thought-through and progressive policy proposals coming out of the NDC LAB’s engagements for the benefit of the party and the presidential campaign.

However, as is one of the objects of this dialogue, a few of these policy proposals require some finetuning, and it is one of the reasons I am thrilled this policy dialogue has taken place.

I am sure you’ve all found it useful, and from all the presentations, we will have solid proposals for our manifesto and policy implementation in government.

As NDC LAB members form the majority of the membership of the Manifesto and sector committees, it provides for a seamless continuation and flow of work, leading to the timely finalisation of the 2024 Manifesto and its eventual launch.

Comrades, there’s no need to re-echo that Ghana is currently gripped with its worst socio-economic crisis in several decades.

The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) reported on Wednesday this week that unemployment keeps rising and currently stands at a staggering 14.7%, as nearly 1.4 million young people aged 15 to 35 were unemployed in the first three quarters of 2023 alone.
This is, by every account, a very harrowing situation.

Worsening living conditions, unbearable hardships, a spiralling cost of living, high inflation, rising inequality, a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, a steep erosion of the purchasing power of Ghanaians, an unsustainable public debt, massive debt defaults, a failing currency, and astronomic budget deficits tell the tale of a catastrophic economic meltdown, which is the result of shocking mismanagement and ineptitude by the Akufo-Addo/ Bawumia administration.

Compounding our miserable circumstances as Ghanaians are astonishing levels of
governmental corruption and plain thievery of our resources, severely weakened and heavily politicised governance institutions serving the NPP rather than the national interest and, more importantly, the insufferable arrogance of power.

This is not the Ghana we subscribed to. Without a doubt, this current iteration of our country requires urgent rebuilding anchored on our collective aspirations with workable, progressive, and sustainable policies.

Comrades, I have had the opportunity to review the consolidated reports from the thematic working groups – thus, the Finance and Economy, Human Development and Governance working groups.

I can observe that apart from the fact that the policy proposals seek to address the current Akufo-Addo/Bawumia-created twin challenges of economic and governance crisis, the policy proposals also directly respond to most of the thorny issues raised by Ghanaians during my ongoing Building Ghana Tours.

The deliberations you have had these two days have helped tighten the loose ends, particularly concerning the implementational frameworks of these policies.

We are all acutely aware that we do not have the benefit of time from 7 January 2025 after we are sworn into office. Ghanaians have high hopes and expectations, which we intend to meet.

These high expectations in the next NDC Government reflect their unwavering belief in our ability to deliver – and that is why I am again happy that the NDC LAB has already stepped into the next phase of considering the implementation and action points in respect of our key and flagship policy proposals.

The enormity of the challenges we face today and those we will uncover would mean that we must come into government with a clear plan and a strategy.

We have the plan and strategy and know exactly what to do when sworn into office on 7 January 2025.

Since 2021, I have outlined over sixty (60) different policy proposals, carefully curated to restore our economy and national life into a much better state.

In particular, the 24-hour economy policy has found resonance with most Ghanaians,
especially the youth, as confirmed by both data-based and anecdotal evidence.

This policy has offered hope to our increasingly restless and despondent population that the half measures and mismanagement they see under the Akufo-Addo/ Bawumia government, which has plunged us into suffering, will soon give way to more prudent and forward-looking programmes.

The 24-hour economy remains the surest way to achieve significant economic expansion, boost productivity, meet demand, curb unbridled imports and their attendant adverse effects on our economy, currency and, above all, generate well-paying jobs for the millions of people without employment.

I am encouraged by the positive feedback and input we continue to receive on the proposal from our compatriots in organised labour, academia, business, and industry.

This fits in perfectly with the consultative approach informing our policy formulation. I can reveal the completion of a policy/strategy document on the proposal, which we will soon share with the people of Ghana.

We remain determined to build the Ghana we want together with all Ghanaians to collectively reap the outcomes for our shared prosperity.

This policy dialogue is further proof of our desire to subject our policy proposals to scrutiny and synthesise various views to enable us to refine and finetune them to meet the expectations of our dear people.

The widespread acceptance of the 24-hour policy appears to have sent the NPP campaign into a tailspin, leading to a frantic effort to attack it through calumny and disinformation in the last few days.

We are fortified in the knowledge that the days when the NPP assumed that they could use falsehood to hoodwink Ghanaians for electoral advantage are over, mainly because of their horrific performance in the last seven years after they were entrusted with the administration of our dear nation, Ghana.

There is no room in leadership for excuse-making and flight from responsibility. You cannot make grandiose promises about the economy in 2016 only to be put in charge, run it down, push all of us into suffering and hardships and turn around to say you were only the mate of a reckless driver and, therefore, you should be excused from blame.

Not only do I have a much better and measurable performance record in both my role as Vice President and Head of the Economic Management Team, and later as President, than my leading contender in this year’s elections, I also have a record of taking responsibility.

The same cannot be said of my opponent.

I note that my long-espoused pledges to substantially reduce the size of government by having much fewer Ministries, Ministers and appointees, abolish the payment of ex-gratia, scrap taxes like the e-levy and carry out far-reaching constitutional and governance reforms, have compelled my opponent to promise the same despite being front of centre of the poor governance under which all these ills have taken place.

I mean business on my promises and intend to keep them.

I am therefore pleased with the work done so far on the implementation metrics concerning the realignment of our ministerial architecture for a resilient governance structure to deliver a more efficient, responsive, and caring government and the public good.

This resilient governance structure will be anchored on ICT uptake and innovations, and the same innovation will drive some of our other job creation efforts. The next NDC Government seeks to partner with local tech start-ups and businesses to launch a ‘Digital Jobs Initiative’ to create at least 300,000 skilled employment opportunities for young people.

We shall also establish a FinTech Growth Fund with an initial seed capital of USD 50 million to support indigenous companies in fostering the growth of the digital economy.

Our brothers, sisters and children who are interested in coding will have the opportunity to participate in our ‘Coding for Employment Programme’ targeted to train one million coders with in-demand digital skills for the growing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) ecosystems.

Comrades, it is instructive to note that work has already begun collecting data on all abandoned and uncompleted public infrastructure. This will enable us to undertake an inventory and assessment of all Uncompleted and Abandoned Government Projects across all sectors, particularly health and educational facilities, and make annual budgetary allocations towards their upgrade and completion in order of priority.

The data collection system gives us a quick snapshot of all these abandoned and uncompleted projects at go, including their present physical location.

Ladies and gentlemen, the novelty here is that we are doing this now as a government in waiting. We want to avoid being sworn into office on 7th January 2025 before commencing the preliminary phase of the work.

Even out of government, we are spending resources to make this inventory hit the ground running.

We are ready. A lot is happening. I have the utmost confidence that very soon we (Ghanaians)
shall see and have a feel of a Manifesto that responds to the day-to-day needs of Ghanaians and leverages our shared aspirations and common identity when it is launched. A manifesto anchored on the people’s will.

We are ready, and I am prepared to lead us in building the Ghana we want together.
The beautiful thing is I have equally seen the readiness and eagerness of Ghanaians to join us on this journey of rebuilding ourselves and our society.

And to the majority of Ghanaians and voters on our side and those not on our side, be rest assured we shall protect your votes. We shall let the true voice of the people speak. And we shall make sure the outcome of this election is a true reflection of the wishes of the people of Ghana.

This is my pledge to you, and together, we shall build the Ghana we all want.

On this note, I formally declare this policy dialogue closed.

Thank you for your kind attention.
May God bless our homeland, Ghana.

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