Listen To Story
Former President John Dramani Mahama has urged the armed forces and the security services to remain loyal to the state and the constitution in the face of the harsh economic conditions Ghanaians are grappling with and has professed several practical solutions to the Bawumia-led Economic Management Team, which he believes would get the country out of the current economic woes when implemented.
The former president and 2020 flag bearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Thursday night speaking at an event dubbed “Building the Nation We Want” departed from the conventional addresses by opposition political leaders and suggested pragmatic solutions to government in addressing the current economic crisis the country has been plunged into, because according to him “it is time for honest contemplation” and “there is no room for gloating over our current predicament “. Cutting wastage at the Office of the President, revisiting operation feed yourself, realigning or restructuring state institutions with similar functions, a moratorium on all non-concessional borrowings to reduce the public debt and the suspension of non essential projects are some immediate measures Mr. Mahama suggested to the government to help solve the prevailing economic crisis which he believes were largely government- inflicted.
Taking his turn to address participants at the event which was broadcast on major television and radio stations after a trembling and gloomy presentation of the country’s economic state of affairs by the Ejumako-Enyan-Esiam Member of Parliament and Ranking member of the Finance Committee, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, the former president immediately handed out a list of solutions to the Economic Management Team chaired by vice president Mahamudu Bawumia to help curb the country’s high rate of inflation, free fall of the Cedi, high unemployment rate and general low living standard. John Mahama proposes that “all non essential projects such as the 116 million Euro new Accra International Conference Centre and construction of new embassy buildings for new missions abroad must be suspended for now. The public funding of the national cathedral, particularly at this time, must stop”.
On the re-visit of operation feed yourself, Mr. Mahama insists that “domestication”, which was a policy of the erstwhile Acheampong military regime of eating what you grow and growing what you eat, is a sure way of stabilizing the Cedi through a reduced import bill and job creation. “We do enormous damage to our currency, the Cedi and our economy, when we spend billions of Cedis on the importation of rice,sugar, tomato products, frozen fish, poultry, meat products and vegetable cooking oils” ,he laments. He bemoaned the failure of the government’s much touted Planting for Food and Jobs which, according to him, has added little to the country’s food stock. This, he believes, is evidenced in the current high prices of foodstuffs which has put Ghana at the topmost spot of countries with the highest food inflation the world over.
Mr. Mahama also called for the urgent need to revamp the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to ensure the refinery processes crude oil as was started by his administration to prevent fuel shortages and reduce the demand for forex cover for the importation of the products.
The event was attended by the leadership and members of the minority caucus in Parliament, former appointees and Ministers of state, NDC executives, leaders of civil society organizations, the academic community and supporters and members of the NDC.