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Catholic Bishops Conference “public purse” assertion inaccurate – Presidency

Government says it disagrees with recent assertions by the Catholic Bishops Conference that the expressed commitment of President Akufo-Addo, to protect the public purse is now an illusion.

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 on the 8th of November 2021 indicated that “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”.

“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” the highly respected clergyman questioned?

Addressing the Presidential Press Corps at the Jubilee House today 11th of November 2021, Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, noted that “in as much as this administration (Akufo-Addo 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”.

Public Purse Being Protected

According to Arhin, “President 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. 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” Eugene Arhin said.

“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” Arhin added.

“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” Arhin further stated.

COVID-19 and Government Business

In the midst of the raging COVID-19 pandemic, when most of the economies of the world found themselves in recession, Ghana was one of the very few economies that reported positive growth, Eugene Arhin noted, stressing that High fuel prices, high freight charges, the rising cost of living, are not Ghanaian phenomena, they are the order of the day across the globe, unfortunately.

“Just as every country on earth is confronted with these difficult challenges, largely as a result of the impact of COVID-19, Ghana, under President Akufo-Addo, is making every effort, through Ghana CARES Obaatampa Programme, to alleviate the hardships brought forth by the pandemic”.

“It is important to state that the Akufo-Addo government will continue to work for the development of Ghana and help improve the standards of living of every Ghanaian. Far from being out of touch, the Government is highly focused on delivering on its mandate” the Communications Director at the Presidency noted.

COP26 Delegation

With reference to Ghana’s participation in the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow, Eugene Arhin pointed out that a matter that has since generated some controversy is the supposed number of delegates that attended the COP from Ghana.

“Let me state for the record that the Government of Ghana did not send nor fund 337 Ghanaians to attend COP26. Indeed, there are three categories of persons who were permitted to attend COP26. These are United Nations and related organizations and agencies, media and non-profit organizations with observer status and representatives of Parties to the Convention and Observer States”.

“From what we have seen so far, it has been shown that not all the 337 persons who registered as participants attended the Summit. There were media personalities, as well as representatives from CSOs, who are captured on the list of 337 persons, and who confirm that their trip to Glasgow was not funded by Government” he said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, let me place on record that the official presidential delegation comprised of twenty-four (24) persons including the President, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Energy, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, and officials of the Presidency and Foreign Ministry” he added.

Leave of Absence

President Akufo-Addo, Mr Arhin announced will, today the 11th of November 2021, “lead the Ghanaian delegation to attend, at the invitation of UNESCO’s Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, the 75th-anniversary ceremony of the founding of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which is being held at its headquarters in Paris, France where on Friday, 12th November, he will deliver a statement, at the height of the commemoration, on the impact UNESCO has had in Ghana, and what Ghana expects from UNESCO in the coming years”.

“President Akufo-Addo will from Saturday, 13th November, to Saturday, 20th November, take a much-deserved, long overdue seven-day leave of absence, during which he has accepted an invitation to preside over the panel that will adjudicate a debate in the French Parliament on “The Trial of Progress”, on Friday, 19th November. The President is expected back in Ghana on Saturday, 20th November” Eugene Arhin said.

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