General News of 2014-04-28

Ghana not far from an Arab spring style uprising

The Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Vice chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries, (AGI), says Ghana may not be far from the semblance of an Arab Spring style uprising if government continues to take the feelings of Ghanaians for granted.

William Awuku Aheadomeh, who was commenting on government’s taxation spree and the cancellation of adverts under the ICT model of GYEEDA, told Kumasi-based Ultimate Radio government’s decisions are constantly failing to resonate with the complaints of Ghanaians.

He cautioned that if the government continues to expend taxes without proper accountability, there could be massive unrest in the country.

Mr. Awuku Aheadomeh wondered why Government will go ahead to place adverts for the ICT module under the GYEDA programme at a time when critical issues of mismanagement and corruption are yet to be fully tackled and the culprits dealt with.

Without mentioning any names, he indicated that all requirements for soliciting for the GYEDA ICT module only pointed to one institution and cautioned that the programme could suffer the same quandary it went through in the last few months.

He warned, “We need to be careful the way we govern this country. It is true that we have resolved to go by the ballot box but repeated acts that are indicating that we are not worried about how the ordinary person is feeling, can lead this country into chaos. We have seen this in Egypt and elsewhere and if you think you can come to the 25 million Ghanaians with the same approach and expect them to keep watching unconcerned, you must be joking.”

He emphasized that although he would not pray for any chaotic situation to happen, “the pointers are there and in real terms, we are not so far from it”.

Defending his position, the business analyst pointed out that “the day a country’s unemployment rate hits 25% of the people who are strong enough to work and are not getting jobs, that day you are most likely to see street protests and we are getting closer and closer to that point.”

He observed that economic activity especially in the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi, is currently at its record low as by four o’clock pm, shops begin to close down and the central business area begins going empty indicating “there are no sustainable jobs in the system”.

He stated further that, “Ghana’s earning from our exports dropped by about 1.3billion; our cocoa didn’t sell the way it should have sold and the other things that should have brought the revenue didn’t bring the revenue and that is the time that our government had to be very prudent, cut unnecessary expenditure and ensure that no cedi goes waste.”

“At the same time, if you hear that people are misappropriating funds anyhow, what are the pointers? In Egypt, the youth went to Tahrir square and they were willing to die there because there was nothing and no jobs to come back to. They thought a change of government will bring relief but if you plunge a country that low, it takes several years to come back and the youth will not have that patience because they cannot wait another ten years to see development. This is the situation and we don’t have to drive this nation to that point,” he admonished strongly.

He also took a swipe at the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Kofi Wampah, who recently expressed concern about Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) not getting adequate funding for their business. In his view, Dr. Kofi Wampah did not have that moral right to be talking about lack of funding after championing a mopping up of all loanable funds through juicy Treasury bill rates and increasing the base rate by two basis points to eighteen percent.

Mr. Awuku Aheadomeh made a strong case for a national forum to be held on the government’s employment modules which he argues is unsustainable, and “a dead end programme which only leads to sunk costs.”

He proposed rather that government sunk the huge sums of money into the private sector to borrow as loans to expand and employ more people and allow the loans and their repayments to go on cycling to boost the economy.

Source: Ivan Heathcote-Fumador/Ultimate Radio/Kumasi
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