We’ll take control of our assets; Greenstreet declares at CPP manifesto launch(Oct 31, 2016)
The Convention People’s Party (CPP) last Saturday launched its manifesto with the key goal of reasserting control over the country’s natural resources for the sustainable and equitable development of the country.
Unveiling the party’s ambition for the country in Accra, the party’s presidential candidate, Mr Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, told a cheering crowd at the party’s manifesto launch that the country had lost $6 billion due to the Ghana Hybrid System from which the government received revenue from the oil sector through royalties and taxes.
Unlike 2012 when the party was the first to launch its manifesto in June, the CPP, this time round, chose less than 40 days to the election to unveil what it calls an “Apam Foforo,’’ to wit, a ‘New Covenant.’
The party also used the occasion to launch the Braille and sign language versions of the manifesto to woo the community of persons with disability who were at the event in their numbers to support Mr Greenstreet, who has been confined to a wheelchair after a road accident.
NDC & NPP connivance?
On the day the CPP decided to go after the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the CPP presidential candidate accused the two parties of conniving to pass a law to “steal” from Ghanaians.
“How is it possible that we have a National Development Planning Commission that goes around the whole country seeking the views of Ghanaians, and Ghanaians tell this very commission that what they want is for us to earn more from our resources that God has bequeathed to our great nation – oil, gold, timber, diamond, cocoa, gas, fertile lands, strong human base, access to water resources, strong human beings. Yet we continue to wallow in abject poverty, bowing before forces.
"And so secretly ignoring this cardinal principle the people of Ghana have requested, the NDC and the NPP went to secretly pass this Petroleum Law in stealing and emphasising a method called the Ghana Hybrid System which is a form of getting revenue from the oil sector through royalties and taxes. And you know how bad as a nation we are at collecting taxes and you know how good multinationals are at escaping taxes," he said.
Surrounded by party stalwarts, including the party’s running mate, Nana Gabby Nketiah, and the Chairman, Professor Edmund Delle, Mr Greenstreet proposed an alternative.
Petroleum law repeal
"We in the CPP will repeal that law. We will review that law. We will bring what is called the Production Sharing formula. That is where like a farmer who owns a piece of land and somebody comes to grow corn on that land, they share in the proceeds,” he said.
Passed in August this year, the Act revoked the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Law, 1984 (PNDCL 84).
It provides for the new fiscal regime, which includes bonus payments and an increase in the minimum carried interest of the state in every petroleum agreement from 10 per cent to 15 per cent.
The law also provides for a competitive public tendering process in the award of petroleum blocks.
The CPP is anchored on three pillars—Self Determination, Social Justice and Pan-Africanism. It identifies four short-term priority areas that it seeks to address immediately if it is elected—job creation, essential services (affordable housing, water, electricity, food, transportation and sanitation), public safety and managing the country’s natural resources by negotiating all contracts that short-change the country.
Its thematic areas are on Social Policies (including education, tertiary institutions, science and technology, labour quality improvement, housing, cultural caring for the aged and persons with disability. Under Economic Policies, it provides alternative policies for addressing agriculture and rural transformation, cocoa sub-sector, the macro economy, monetary, industry and energy.
On the theme of Responsive Governance, the manifesto looks at issues such as fighting corruption, national security, judicial reforms, and the role of traditional leaders. The Nkrumaist party also has plans for international issues which include Ghana and globalisation, relations with African countries, non-Ghanaian diaspora, donors and the rest of the world.
Among the crowd were party bigwigs, including a veteran journalist, Mr Kwesi Pratt, the party’s presidential aspirants in the 2016 race: Mr Bright Akwetey and Mr Joseph Agyapong, and its 2012 running mate, Nana Frimpomaa Sarpong Kumankuma. Conspicuously missing, however, was Ms Samia Nkrumah, who also contested to lead the party in the 2016 elections.
Mr Greenstreet, who said he hoped to bring the CPP back to power after its founder and leader, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, was ousted in 1966, hailed the party’s credentials, saying it was the only party that brought independence to the country and would bring economic independence to the country.
He also spoke to a key issue on the heart of most Ghanaians—astronomical rent advances which, he said, a CPP government would address.
“How many young people and their young families can afford two years in advance. Meanwhile, the law is there and says three months. We shall apply it,’’ he said.
Ghana’s rather high housing deficit, pegged at almost two million, makes tenants vulnerable for exploitation as demand for housing outstrips supply, with landlords demanding as much as two to three years’ rent advance.
On agriculture, he emphasised the party’s position on genetically modified organism (GMO) foods, insisting that a country with millions of hectares lying fallow should not turn to GMOs for food security.
He also mentioned the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), insisting that it was an agreement that would put the country in further poverty.
“We don’t believe such agreements should be entered into unilaterally. They are impositions and we shall stand by Nigeria to ensure that we work out these things,’’ he said.
Turning his attention to his main opponents in the 2016 race, he said : “We must bring back our dignity as a nation. A nation without dignity is susceptible to abuse and corruption and that is what we see before us today in all spheres of our nation’s life.
"We are abused by our leaders who fail to care for our people and our societies have become endemic to corruption. Twenty-four years of the NDC and the NPP; 24 years of arguments, vindictiveness, rancour and darkness, it’s okay. We have had enough. NDC and the NPP are the same; we have had enough of them. NDC and NPP merely continue to offer us what they’ve been offering us for 24 years and that is their greatest speciality; lie upon lie,” he said.
The party’s Chairman, Prof. Delle, said the party’s constitution was the product of a broad consultation and represented the views of Ghanaians irrespective of their background.
He rallied the party faithful to campaign for the party to bring “the glorious old days back to Ghana.”
As if to lay to rest claims that the CPP was for the old and needed to wake up from basking in its old days, he said the party had attracted energetic young people whose energy would be harnessed for the country’s growth