The government is ready to meet every request by the Electoral Commission (EC) for additional resources for the successful execution of the December 2008 general election, President J. A. Kufuor has assured the nation.
The President's assurance comes on the heels of the disclosure by the Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, that the commission had budgeted for GH¢41 million for this year's general election.
At a special regional Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) forum in Takoradi, Dr Mari-Gyan had said the EC would require an additional GH¢7 million should there be a run-off.
Addressing this year's May Day celebration at the Independence Square in Accra yesterday, President Kufuor said already the request submitted by the EC through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning had been fully met.
The theme for the celebration, which was attended by a large number of workers, was, "Deepening Democracy in Ghana: The Role of Organised Labour".
The workers, some of whom carried placards, had gone on a route march from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle to the Independence Square to listen to anniversary speeches and take part in an awards presentation ceremony.
The parade was attended by the Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, as well as some leaders of political parties, including Professor John Evans Atta Mills, the former Vice-President and flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and Dr Paa. Kwesi Nduom, the flag bearer of the Convention People's Party (CPP).
President Kufuor said the responsibility for running credible elections was beyond the EC and embraced all Ghanaians.
"We, therefore, should be able to desist from making pronouncements which give rise to undue scepticism and work together with the commission to ensure transparency, fairness and peace," he said.
"Any misunderstanding arising from the elections should be subjected to due process," he added.
The President reiterated the government's support for the December 2008 elections, saying, "The government will do nothing against the law."
"Ghana is considered a beacon of democracy. Therefore, we should all commit, through our conduct, to validate this positive assessment," he stated.
President Kufuor advised political parties to see themselves as part of the constitutional organs for running elections and, therefore, behave according to the letter and spirit of the Constitution to assist the process.
He said all organs, such as the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), had a stake in the elections and should play their roles impartially.
On the food situation, the President said the government was making arrangements to stock grains to ensure food security in the short term, at least for the rest of the year, in view of rising food prices on the world market.
President Kufuor said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture had been directed to ensure proper marketing and sale of agricultural produce so that no region would experience food shortage.
With regard to pay reforms, the President said a team of consultants and technical experts had been engaged to work on a single spine pay structure which would become the public pay policy in due course and asked worker to exercise restraint, since the exercise should be done well to avoid creating difficulties in future.
President Kufuor was later honoured by the TUC for his commitment to and support for the movement towards May Day celebrations since assuming office.
Source: Daily Graphic