General News of Saturday, 12 July 2014
Two key editors of newspapers affiliated to the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) have criticized government’s handling of the economy and are asking senior members of the party to call the president to order.
According to the editors of the Herald and the Informer newspapers, senior members of the governing party must speak up to put government on track.
The two, Larry Dogbe of the Herald and Andy Kankam of the Informer say as citizens of Ghana, they cannot ignore the state of affairs hence the decision to do a series of stories asking President Mahama to sit up.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, one of the editors, Andy Kankam, bemoaned the current state of the economy and asked the various individuals working with the President to advise him on best practices to save the ailing economy.
“If the handlers of the President keep telling him that all is well, that is a big fat lie…I think that the handlers of the economy must tell him the truth…”
“We will not sit to see the country that Kwame Nkrumah and others struggled to build collapse,” he added
Mr. Kankam also criticized the deputy ministers for their incompetence and the inappropriate behaviour saying “most of them just go to the night clubs and shower money.”
He opined, “things are not being done well in the economy” adding that “Ghana had now become a laughing stock to the international world."
In that regard, he called on the former President Rawlings to bring President Mahama to order.
He also challenged other senior members of the party to question government’s incompetence.
Speaking on the same platform, Mr. Larry Dogbe emphasized the need for Ghanaians to question the competence of the country’s political leaders in the midst of the current economic crises.
“If you [Ghanaians] are not getting your direction clear, you are not seeing the destination then obviously you need to start asking questions as to what is wrong,” Mr. Dogbe said.
He recalled that Ghana’s various political leaders have only given Ghanaians vain promises and asked them to “swallow bitter pills, tighten their belts… for a better tomorrow.”
Mr. Dogbe was however quick to add that “what are we tightening our belts for and what are we swallowing our bitter pills for? Is it for a better tomorrow?”
Commenting on the recent cement shortage, Mr. Dogbe said the Minister of Trade and Industry, Haruna Iddrissu should have taken the initiative to visit the various cement companies in the country to ascertain the problem.
“The Minister should have gone to the ground, gone to GHACEM, gone to Dangote, gone to Diamond Cement to find out what is happening.”
He further questioned what the Ministry of Finance did to resolve to the problem.
Ghana recently experienced fuel shortage due to government’s inability to pay about 1.5 billion cedis owed the Bulk Oil Distributors Company and other Oil Marketing Companies.
The shortage has generated public debate as to whether government should continue subsidizing petroleum products or allow consumers to bear the full cost.
Speaking on the issue, Mr. Dogbe described the “fuel shortage as very embarrassing.”
Divisions within NDC
There have been reports of divisions within the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Commenting on internal bickering in the party, he said most of the party members who had criticized government in the past had been sidelined in the party.
“What I have heard is that a lot of people who we can always define as the saints of the NDC are not involved in the day to day running of the government. The matured guys are not allowed to take part in the party’s relevant discussions.”
The two are not the only ones complaining about the current state of affairs. The NPP’s Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and the PPP’s Dr. Papa Kwasi Nduom have all called on government to take immediate steps to halt the decline of the cedi and fix the economy.
Dr. Kwesi Ndoum has described Ghana’s economy as bedridden while the Secretary General of Trade Union Congress (TUC) Kofi Asamoah says the high and low profile corruption cases in the country are symptoms of a weak and failing state.
The nation’s currency has been depreciating against some of the major trading currencies in spite of measures introduced by the Bank of Ghana.
Fitch Ratings recently also revised the Outlook on Ghana’s Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) from stable to negative and affirmed the ratings at ‘B.'
The agency said “revenue underperformance and intractable expenditure on wages and interest led to a budget deficit of 10.8% of GDP in 2013, wider than the government’s target of 9%.This combined with a sharp 20% depreciation of the exchange rate, caused government debt to rise to 61.8% of GDP in 2013 from 48.9% in 2012.”