General News of Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Source: myjoyonline

NEF boycott: Gov't should have cajoled NPP – Dr. Akwetey suggests

The government should have used some diplomatic means, be it overtly or covertly, to woo the largest opposition New Patriotic Party to participate in the first National Economic Forum since 2012, Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey has said.

The bi-partisan National Economic Forum is underway in Senchi in the Eastern Region aimed at achieving consensus on policies, strategies and measures to accelerate Ghana's transition from a lower middle income nation to an upper middle income economy.

The NPP held a press conference on Monday to officially boycott the Forum. The party, among other things, claimed government has adopted its own economic reforms between 2014 and 2017, including the retrenchment of workers and has communicated same to the IMF.

But opening the Forum on Monday, President John Mahama says government has not entered into any IMF programme as has been alleged by the NPP.

"As president, I have not taken any decision to enter our country into an IMF programme," Mr. Mahama said.

But Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), said the government should have gone a step further to explain, perhaps in writing, to the NPP that the stance they have taken was wrong, and emphasized the need for them to take part in the Forum.

The lack of communication between the government and the NPP gave room to various speculations culminating in the latter pulling out.

“I wished they had done everything to get them in,” he maintained; explaining that the National Democratic Congress, the party in government, and the NPP have polarized the nation, so the need for the two major parties to often work on consensus building cannot be overemphasized.

He agreed with President Mahama’s description of the NPP’s absence as a tragedy.

Dr. Awketey who is participating in the Forum noted that so far the discussions have “been very interesting….and damn serious” and was optimistic about the outcome of the Forum.

The four-day Forum would end on Friday. Participants include former finance ministers, former Governors of the Bank of Ghana, eminent economists, political parties, parliamentarians and business leaders.

Also expected to take part in the national dialogue are economic policy makers, as well as representatives of traders associations, development and social partners, civil society organisations, members of academia and senior citizens.