Kufuor: We put Ghana on recovery

Posted: June 30, 2011 in Politics
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In the face of attempts by some officials of the Atta Mills-led government to obliterate the achievements of the immediate past government, former President Kufuor has set the records straight, arguing that his government put Ghana on the path to economic recovery. First on the agenda towards the economic recovery roadmap, according to Mr. Kufuor, was to tell Ghanaians the true financial status of the country, and taking the hard decision to access the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.“Some people would want to forget the state of affairs (of the country) in the year 2001 when we assumed office. But, the truth of the matter was that Ghana was already a Highly Indebted and Poor Country.

“Somehow, people don’t want to face the facts. The difference is that when we came in, we faced the facts. We told the truth about the real financial situation of the country.

It wasn’t easy. But, we did it with a resolution to correct the contradictions, inconsistencies and deformities in the economy. And the world appreciated it,” Mr. Kufuor told The Chronicle in an exclusive interview at his Dzorwulu residence.

According to him, the bold decisions his government took yielded results, thereby, convincing creditors “to begin to forgive Ghana and its debts.”

“In all, we got benefits of about $8 billion. The first was from the bilateral creditors – we were forgiven about $4 billion. With the multilaterals – we were forgiven a further $3.5 to $4 billion. That is how much we saved Ghana,” he stated emphatically.

With the HIPC initiative bearing fruit, Mr. Kufuor said his government quickly began formulating good policies and laying the parameters to better the lot of Ghanaians.

He told The Chronicle that his administration began repairing infrastructure that had broken down “to give hope to Ghanaians once again.”

“With the priorities that we laid, we quickly started working on infrastructure that had broken down massively. People forget the state of the road from Accra to Cape Coast, and even from Nkrumah Circle to Achimota-Ofankor.

“Travel on these roads now and see. We worked hard, not only on roads, but also on the energy sector. We continued with the thermal plants. We persisted with the Chinese. So they came in to build the Bui Dam, which is still ongoing. And these are some of our footprints,” he said.

With intense activities on a number of road networks, coupled with the boost in the energy sector, Mr. Kufuor said next on his agenda was to strike oil in commercial quantities for the country.

This, he said, was done by bringing on board the EO Group, which in turn engaged other partners in the oil exploration, to bring his (Mr. Kufuor) vision to reality.

Mr. Kufuor said he was saddened that some elements in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government refuse to give his administration credit for the various projects executed during his tenure.

“Now, people don’t even want to give us credit. Before we came to power, I said we will strike oil because we are going to generate a business-friendly atmosphere that will convince investors to the country. And that is how it started. It wasn’t just by chance.

People must give credit where credit is due, whatever the case may be,” he said in a deep voice.

He dismissed assertions that his government benefitted from the EO Group on the numerous agreements they entered into with their partner, Kosmos Energy.

“Our government gave blocs to more than ten companies. If it were our practice to take percentages, then I will dare you to go and talk to all of them and ask if Kufuor’s government asked for any percentage of the money they got.

“Tullow was brought in by… and Mr. Kofi … So you can ask them whether we were part of whatever negotiations they did with the partners, and whether we asked for anything from them. You can also check with Vitol Oil or Exxon Mobil. All of them got blocs. My policy was for Ghana to get oil,” he added.

In 2002, the EO Group, led by Kwame Bawuah Edusei and George Yaw Owusu, was brought on board by the Kufuor-led administration to help find oil for Ghana.

The Group later entered into an agreement with US-based Kosmos Energy to do the onerous task, which paid off in 2008.

That notwithstanding, Mr. Kufuor said he felt disappointed when some elements within the NDC decided to persecute and spread falsehoods about Kwame Edusei and George Owusu, the two leaders of the EO Group, who helped find oil for the country.

“These people have brought so much into our country. I honoured them for their dedication to the cause of the nation… The moment they started persecuting them, I felt very sad for the nation,” the ex-President said, his demeanour indicating that he was really disappointed with the sad turn of events.

The Chronicle will publish the entire interview with the former President on Monday.

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