Kufuor: Ghana must move forward

Posted: June 29, 2011 in Politics
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Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has sent a special message to Ghanaians to work tirelessly and pull their resources together to make the country a better place to live in. Ghana, he said, “must move forward.” In an exclusive interview with The Chronicle at his Dzorwulu residence, Mr. Kufuor said he believed the country could still do far better than it is doing now, hence the need for good governance and better management of the country’s endowed natural resources.“Ghana is evolving, and anything in that process goes up and down until we hit a stable level. I believe Ghana can still do far better than it is doing. Governance is critical,” he noted.

The joint winner of this year’s World Food Prize said the current economic situation in the country was something that the majority of Ghanaians were not very proud of and, therefore, called for an all hands on deck approach to get the country moving forward.

One means of moving this nation forward, he said, was by voting wisely in the 2012 general elections.

“People complain about things being too difficult. I always say people get the government that they deserve. So, if they truly deserve the government that is not moving the way we want, then we must use our votes wisely,” he said.

The former President, with Ashanti royal ancestry gave a classical Twi interpretation to what confronts Ghanaians. “Y’asoa Nsuo, Y’asoa Nsa, Yahu Nie Emu Ye Duru. (We have carried water and dry gin, and now we know the one that has more weight).

The Food Prize winner said “Ghana has everything to really transform itself within a decade,” and the only option to see that transformation is a vote for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2012, a party he twice led to victory in election 2000 and 2004.

He said the offshore banking that Ghana contracted with Barclays Bank under his leadership, would have brought positive returns to the country, but expressed disappointment that the contract had been abrogated by the Bank of Ghana.

“The offshore banking that was contracted with Barclays Bank was not meant for money laundering, as people think. If we had passed all the laws, Ghana would have become a capital market, and this would have had a very positive bearing on Ghana,” he explained.

In 2007, Barclays Bank Ghana Limited was granted a General Banking License by the Bank of Ghana to operate the first banking business, under the International Banking Component of the International Financial Services Centre. Ghana then became a major player in the global financial markets to begin operating offshore banking.

Offshore banking is the provision of tailor-made banking services for non-residents, expatriates and institutions to save their money abroad, rather than in their home countries. It offers a tax efficient environment for a wide range of savings and investment products.                                        Offshore banking operations, apart from impacting positively on a country’s image as an investment destination of choice, make available a pool of capital inflows that institutions and companies could tap into, to drive development.

In 2010, the Bank of Ghana, under the leadership of the Governor Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, withdrew Barclays Bank’s offshore banking license.

The decision, according to the Central Bank, was mainly due to concerns raised on using the facility for money laundering. The Central Bank, at the time of granting the offshore license to Barclays Bank, had in place an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Law.

Mr. Kufuor said the NPP, under Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo was going to embark on an industrialisation drive to spur the economy.

He urged Ghanaians to vote massively for the NPP in the 2012 general elections, in order to experience “real positive change in their lives.This is a challenge to Ghana,” he shot back.

He told The Chronicle that his relationship with the party was very solid, and that he would get on board the campaign trail to canvass for votes for Nana Addo.

According to him, their campaign would dwell much on policies and not propaganda, as was done by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2008 general elections.

He urged NPP faithful “to hold together and commit themselves totally to bringing the party back to power.”




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