General News of Saturday, 26 July 2014
Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Murtala Mohammed says unlike former President John Kufuor, who insulted Ghanaians for complaining about economic hardships, John Mahama's National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has accepted the complaints and is working to solve the challenges.
According to him, the NDC believes that Ghanaians have the right to complain and to demonstrate, which is their constitutional right, and last Thursday’s demonstration by Organised Labour was a clear example of that.
Thousands of workers across the country last Thursday demonstrated to protest what they say is the worsening economic situation in the country.
Workers from both formal and informal sectors joined in the march to register their frustration at government's failure to solve the many economic challenges, including rising food and fuel prices, hikes in utility bills, the falling cedi, etc.
Commenting on the demonstration on Alhaji and Alhaji on Radio Gold on Saturday, Murtala Mohammed said the NDC government had no problem with the workers exercising their constitutional right although he felt other channels could have been used to address their concerns.
"There wasn't anybody in government [who] had any problem with the demonstration," and that other channels could have been used instead.
The deputy minister swiftly quizzed the Trades Union Congress (TUC) boss, Kofi Asamoah, where he was “when Kufuor said Ghanaians are lazy when they complained they were facing challenges?”
According to him, former President Kufuor said that, "we were all lazy that is why we are complaining," and a minister in Kufuor’s administration said “we should go and eat konkonte.”
“We had similar problems, but we were insulted and Mr. Kofi Asamoah did not complain… when we were in similar challenges," he said.
He stressed that the “hypocrisy in this country is just too much” and that “we have always faced challenges.”
Murtala Mohammed said the NDC government “has acknowledged and appreciated the challenges Ghanaians are facing," and the government is putting in measures to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of Ghanaians.
The issues are being addressed, he noted; adding that, it will be unfair to say the government is insensitive.
Organised Labour refusing to work for even a day, he explained, cost the nation millions of cedis, and the country cannot afford to make such losses.
This, he said, defeats the purpose for which the demonstration was organised, which was to solve the country’s challenges.