Highlights of John Mahama’s address on Ghana's economy

John Mahama UPSA Address On Economy John Dramani Mahama speaking at the UPSA Auditorium on October 27

Fri, 28 Oct 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

John Dramani Mahama, the 2020 presidential candidate of the country’s main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), addressed the nation on Thursday, October 27, 2022, from Accra.

The event, dubbed ‘Building the Ghana We Want,’ allowed the former president of Ghana to diagnose what he believed are the current problems the country is facing, as well as proffer solutions to how to make them better.

Reading a 39-page address at the UPSA Hall in Accra, the former president outlined a number of issues that he believes can save the country from further economic mess if the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government implores them.

Below are highlights of his speech as put together by GhanaWeb:

1. Reducing the public debt, debt service obligations and creating fiscal space

“The biggest problem with our economy today is the huge size of our public debt, estimated to be around GH¢ 522 billion by close of this year. This must immediately be tackled and stopped from growing further.

“To achieve this:

1) An immediate moratorium must be placed on all non-concessional borrowing.

2) Government must actively canvass our bilateral partners for more concessional financing and grants.

3) There must be a stop to Central Bank financing of government above the 5% threshold. The current printing of money to finance Government’s deficit is further fueling inflation.

4) Government must stop collateralizing statutory funds for the purpose of taking on more loans. The wanton collateralization has been unhelpful.”

2. Cutting cost, reducing waste, and spending wisely

Under this, he called for the down-streaming of the size of ministers, secretariats and agencies, the cutting down of the budget of the Office of the President, check waste in government expenditure and corruption, the suspension of non-essential projects, and a call for greater transparency in public procurement.

“It is a notorious fact that corruption has defeated the Akufo-Addo government. In fact, it is fair to say that there has never really been a fight against corruption under Akufo-Addo.

“The graft and misapplication of public funds by government appointees call for radical action and not shielding of perpetrators, as we have sadly witnessed in the last few years.”

3. Stabilizing the currency, cutting the import bill and job creation

While expanding this point, John Dramani Mahama called for a consideration of the Operation Feed Yourself program of 1976, as a measure of sustaining progress in agricultural production, with a focus on small scale producers.

He also called for the Akufo-Addo government to leverage on the country’s energy and petroleum sectors to help shore up the economy.

“We do enormous damage to our currency, the cedi, and our economy, when we spend billions of dollars on the importation of rice, sugar, tomato products, frozen fish, poultry, meat products and vegetable cooking oils.

“Yet we have more than the potential to produce here to feed ourselves and even export. It is estimated that forex outlay for food products for which we have a comparative advantage to produce locally amounts to some $3 billion every year.

“It is said that out of adversity comes opportunity. Restriction of importation of some of these products, side-by-side with increased local production, is a realistic proposition that we need to begin to consider.”

What Ghanaians can do to support the economy:

President John Dramani Mahama however called on the citizenry to play a critical role in all of this.

Basing his call for domestication, he urged people to patronize more local products and avoid the needs to patronize things from overseas.

“While responsibility for the difficulties we face lie with the Akufo-Addo and Bawumia government, there are things we can do as citizens in our own small way to minimize the suffering we are going through and help Government turn the situation around.

“A good way to start will be to regulate and minimize out expenditure by sticking to only the things that we really need. As much as possible, we need to acquire and sustain a taste and preference for locally manufactured products.

“If we must buy consumables or food products, let us choose that rice or chicken that is produced locally so that it doesn’t become necessary to find millions of dollars to import the same items.

“Let us consciously eat more of our local foods like yam, local grains, cassava, beans, local fruits, and vegetables. That way, we reduce demand for foreign currency, reduce the pressure on our own currency and boost domestic production to create a win-win situation.

“Cut down on non-essential foreign travel and cut down on expensive foreign products in our homes. If there ever was a time to be thrifty, this is it!”

Read the full text of his address below

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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