We welcome your criticisms but they should be factual – Gov’t to Catholic Bishops

The Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale, Most Rev. Philip Naameh , served two consecutive terms

The Director of Communications at the Presidency, Mr Eugene Arhin, has said the the government is tolerant of divergent views on how the country is being managed but criticism from stakeholders including the Ghana Catholic Bishop Conference should be well-founded and grounded in fact.

The Bishop Conference described as a façade Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s promise while in opposition to protect the public purse should he assume office as president of Ghana.

President of the Conference, Most Rev. Philip Naameh, said during the 2021 plenary assembly in Wa in the Upper West Region, that the performance of the Akufo-Addo-led government so far leaves much to be desired.

He said what Ghanaians are experiencing by way of governance is a contradiction of what they were promised, a situation he said the government does not seem to care about.

“Though poverty stares us in the face, it appears lost to those with power. The expressed commitment of the president of the republic to protect the public purse, a promise that citizens welcomed, seems to be an illusion now”, he said.

Most Reverend Naameh also raised concerns about corruption and embezzlement in public offices.

“Are those managing the public purse not concerned about waste and misapplication of resources that belong to all Ghanaians? Can this be referred to as irresponsible use of power or the lack of compassion and empathy?”, he quizzed.

He again advised politicians not to take the will of the people for granted because “those who are entrusted with power that comes from our collective will must know that what they do with that (power) shapes what we all will become in the future”.

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But reacting to these at a press conference on Thursday November 11, Mr Arhin said “Let me touch on some recent comments made by the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Most Reverend Philip Naameh, at the Catholic Bishops Conference held in Wa, capital of the Upper West Region. Of particular interest to us at the Presidency are the comments made by the respected Catholic Bishop to the effect that “the expressed commitment of the president of the republic to protect the public purse, a promise that citizens welcomed, seems to be an illusion now.”

“In as much as this administration is extremely tolerant of divergent views, and welcomes criticisms of its work, we believe these criticisms should be well-founded and well-grounded in fact, as this is the only way an honest conversation, devoid of malice and propaganda, can be held.

P”resident Akufo-Addo took office in January 2017, and, again, in January 2021, and pledged to protect the public purse, and that is exactly what he has done, and continues to do. Indeed, the transformation that has taken place in all aspects of national life point to an economy that has been well-managed, a public purse that is being well-protected, and the benefits are showing.

“Indeed, if President Akufo-Addo had superintended over the wanton dissipation of public funds, the Ghanaian people would not have reposed their confidence in him by returning a decisive margin of victory for him in the 2020 elections. Free SHS, which now guarantees a minimum of senior high school education for all Ghanaian children, and has already granted access to SHS to over 400,000 more children, would not have been possible if the public purse was not being protected.

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Planting for Food and Jobs, which has brought 1.5 million farmers into its orbit, who enjoy subsidized inputs of fertilisers, seeds, insecticides and other inputs, which has ensured that Ghana no longer imports food like tomatoes and plantain from neighbouring countries, but is rather a net exporter of food stuffs within the ECOWAS Community, would not have been possible if the public purse was not being protected.

“Today, through the prudent use of public resources, 104 factories, through Government’s 1D1F initiative, are operating, and are providing jobs for thousands of unemployed youths. 150 more factories are under construction, and the remaining 24 are at the mobilisation stage, and would provide more jobs for residents of the districts, particularly our youth. If, indeed, the protection of the public purse was a mirage, the Akufo-Addo government would not have found the means to employ hundreds of thousands of teachers and medical professionals, who, before the coming into office of this administration, were sitting at home twiddling their thumbs.

“NABCO, which has brought relief to some 100,000 graduates, would not have been feasible if the public purse was not being protected. The effective roll-out of the National Identification Card has seen some 15.6 million Ghanaians issued with identification cards, up from the 700,000 issued under the 8-years of the Mahama Government. This Government has found the resources to undertake the largest construction of road infrastructure in Ghana’s history. Ghana, under President Akufo-Addo, has, recently, been adjudged as the best place to do business in West Africa.

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“Human memory may be short, but it cannot be so short that we have forgotten the free food, free electricity and free water that were provided, en masse, by Government to the most vulnerable in society during the height of the COVID pandemic last year. The extensive measures taken by Government during the crisis, which are still ongoing, went a long way to protecting the Ghanaian people, a feat that was widely acknowledged across the world. Indeed, there were many who felt safer here, in Ghana, than in many so-called advanced countries because of the way Government took control over the spread of the virus.

“Government is currently engaged in paying up the energy legacy debts inherited, and we have cleared the GH¢1.2 billion NHIS debt we inherited. Presently, payments to NHIS service providers are current.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana