…Media to hold him hostage tomorrow

By Emmanuel Akli

After sacking two of his Ministers from cabinet, and reshuffling others for reasons which the constitution does not mandate him to disclose, it is now the turn of President Mills to avail himself to the media, to be grilled on the performance of his government for the past two years.

The event comes on at the Castle Gardens on Friday January 7th, 2011, exactly two years after he took over the reins of the country.

Exactly a year ago, the President had a similar encounter with the media, where he was subjected to a barrage of questions, especially, on the Muntaka case, and the attacks on him by former President Rawlings. A year down the line, and two years after assuming office, a lot of water has passed under the bridge, therefore, the President is expected to answer fresh questions from the media.

There is no doubt that the government has achieved some successes in the past two years. The first of these is the downward trend of inflation, which has now hit single digit after many years of attempts.

The inflation figure for December 2008, after the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) handed over power, stood at 18.1%. The figure went up to 20.34% a few months later, forcing some of the banks to cut back on their lending portfolios.

By December 2009, the figure had whittled down to 15.95%, and had since continued with its downward trend, with the current figure standing at 9.08%, which is considered a single digit inflation figure.

Within the period under review the Capitation and the School Feeding grants also went up more than 50%. The Atta Mills administration has also significantly reduced the diversion of premix fuel through the blue colourisation of the product.

The President has also continued with almost all the road projects left behind by the Kufuor administration, and was in the process of initiating new ones, especially, the much-talked about eastern corridor roads.

Despite all these laudable achievements, it is an undeniable fact that the general cost of living has gone up, with most families finding it difficult to afford three square meals a day.

What has exacerbated the situation is the increase in electricity tariffs, which has forced many private companies to reduce their staff, thereby throwing people onto the unemployment market.

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has raised several protests against the high tariffs, but nothing good came out of it.

The recent increment in petroleum products, by more than 30%, leading to increases in transport fares on the already suffering Ghanaian worker, has also come to add to their woes.

Though the President has set up the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), as promised in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) 2008 electioneering manifesto, the projected annual inflow of GH¢200 million has not been met. The government has so far made available only GH¢75 million, which is even less than the projected annual payment.

In the area of intra-party politics, former President Rawlings has seized every opportunity to castigate the President and his ministers for failing to arrest and jail NPP functionaries.

When the issue about President Rawlings was raised during his last encounter with the press, President Mills insisted that his party founder was never a pain in his neck. It is, however, not known how he is going to comment on the same issue this time round.
These, among others, are the issues the President would be interrogated on, as he marks his two years on the throne.

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