General News of Saturday, 10 May 2014

Source: XYZ

National economic forum needless - Lloyd Amoah

Afro-China Policy Analyst, Dr. Lloyd Amoah, says the government’s proposed national economic dialogue is needless.

The four-day event which starts next week at Akosombo in the Eastern region is meant to engage economists across the board towards reaching consensus on how to tackle Ghana’s economic problems. President John Mahama hinted at it on May Day.

In attendance will be Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, members of Ghana’s Economic Management Team, former Finance Ministers, representatives of political parties, academia and various interest groups. They will discuss the way forward for the Ghanaian Economy and how to overcome current challenges.

However, Dr. Amoah told XYZ News he believes there’s already a consensus about what to do to move the country forward. “We have a clear consensus on the key policy directions and orientations at the fundamental level regarding how we want to run our economy so for me I’m at a loss as…to what consensus is needed.”

He argued that: “We have the Constitution. We have elections. Parties have their manifestos. When a party wins power, it goes into government. The winning of the mandate means that Government has a free hand to determine for this Republic how it is that the economy ought to be managed.

“Four years that no one can deny the power to tinker and organise the economy the way it wants. So I don’t see the problem.”

Dr. Amoah wondered: “We should have a consensus to determine the difference between investment for business and investment for consumption? You need dialogue in Akosombo for four days to determine that? I don’t see the point really.”

Meanwhile, a former finance Minister Dr. Kwesi Botchwey has rejected claims that the Mahama administration is bereft of ideas to fix the tottering economy, thus the intention to hold the non-partisan economic forum to steal ideas from economic experts outside government.

Dr. Botchwey, who was finance Minister for close to 15 years, told Radio XYZ’s Strict Proof on Thursday that the forum has nothing to do with the Mahama Government’s incompetence.

Critics have imputed that the forum is to help President Mahama and his government tap fresh ideas from the opposition. However, Dr. Botchwey says such cynicism lacks basis and justification. “I don’t think that will be a fair comment,” he told Strict Proof.

He said the government is merely reaching out to “achieve consensus, educate” and also “benefit from fresh ideas” about how to move the economy forward.

“That’s not necessarily an admission that the Government doesn’t know what to do,” he stressed. He added that: “Nobody knows everything, alright. So even those who know everything have an obligation to ensure that everybody else understands what they known. So no I don’t think it’s an admission that the Government is on its back and doesn’t know what to do at all.”