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Opinions of Monday, 21 November 2022

Columnist: Sampson Boamah

Where did we go wrong?

Covid-19 and Russian-Ukrainian war cannot be the main causes of economic hardship in Ghana Covid-19 and Russian-Ukrainian war cannot be the main causes of economic hardship in Ghana

Recently, I have been thinking critically about this question ‘where did we go wrong as a country?’ Anytime I ponder about this, a myriad of thoughts come to mind. There are a lot of factors that have necessitated this awful economic situation. It is my focus to discuss some of these issues and find some answers to this particularly important question.

There is no denying fact that the world has been hit hard by the effect of COVID-19. When the world was on the brink of recovering from this pandemic, there came another senseless war in Ukraine. These two incidents have brought a lot of difficulties to people all over the world. It is increasingly becoming difficult to even breathe these days.

Ghana, like many other countries, has not been spared from these economic hardships that have bedevilled the world. These issues have affected every fibre of the country's economy and turned the situation into a dooming picture.
As a student of international politics, I cannot deny the adverse effect of some of these occurrences in the world particularly with the ongoing war waged by Russia on Ukraine. This is more so because many countries including Ghana and the rest of the world depend on Russia for a lot of things.

Also, because we are living in a global village. And since Vladimir Putin thinks it is wise for him to wage a war on Ukraine after the world was trying to recover from COVID-19 beats my reasoning. This war is shameful, and barbaric, and should end right now!

My take on the war will be written in a different piece but this article is solely dedicated to the unbearably economic conditions happening in Ghana.

Anytime you tune in to your radio or turn on your television and hear discussions on the economy, all you hear from government communicators and political fanatics is that we are going through this economic turbulence because of the war and the effect of COVID-19. As convincing as these two may sound as logical reasons for the ongoing hardship, they cannot solely be the causes. So, the question is, where did we go wrong? What has accounted for all this hellish economic nature?

I do not believe this situation we find ourselves in can all be seen as an act of God. There could be some circumstances where we as a people because we are cursed with bad leadership, are reaping these insipid results.

The truth is, before the eruption of COVID-19 and the war, things were not going well for most Ghanaians, as a lot of the youth were still struggling to find decent jobs to take care of themselves and their families. Corruption has become a very lucrative business under this government and unfortunately, it's a few people benefiting from it.

It will blow your mind the amount the government loses each year because of corruption and corruption-related matters. Again, the government had no regard for financial discipline and economic prudence. They spent as if there was no tomorrow for the citizens.

If you have a government that came into office and decided to suffocate the public purse by appointing over 120 ministers to begin his administration, what do you expect to happen tomorrow? This was one of the geneses of our downfall. How can a country as small the size of Ghana has over 100 ministers? All calls from citizens for the government to reduce this number fell on deaf ears.

Again, when you have a government that does not think about any proper housing project for its citizens but only thinks about building a national cathedral for God is saddling and pathetic. Millions of US dollars are being wasted on this senseless project. There have been a lot of public outcries, but the government remains intransigent.

If you find out the amount of money the country loses because of corruption, you will be dumbfounded. Yet still, the government has done too little to tackle this menace. The reason is that most of the beneficiaries are from his family and political party. He has no balls to cramp down these nation-wreckers.

Even though COVID-19 disrupted a lot of government agenda and the steady progress that the country was gaining but you cannot also underestimate the numerous economic help that the government received from donors both internally and externally. Despite all this, we still cannot see any equilibrium. The government has milked the citizens in the name of COVID-19 relief.

As a country, we have sold our souls to the devil by allowing these reckless people to run the affairs of the state. It is either they are clueless about what is going on or is a deliberate denial of the situation on the ground. When Ghanaians were trying hard to survive during this difficult moment, the president was on a travelling spree agenda. He took one of the most expensive flights in the world, touring Europe, and other parts of the world.

With some of the reasons above, can you say these issues are merely an act of God? Not. You may ask the question if COVID-19 and the War in Ukraine have brought these challenging times on Ghanaians, why are some countries in Africa not experiencing what we are going through?

Just only this year you cannot even count the number of times that the prices of fuel have shot up. Prices of goods and services have just quadrupled in the last 4 months. Life has become very agonizing for the ordinary Ghanaian.
Every week, transport fares are increased, and every commodity on the market has a different price adjusted upwards but the salaries of citizens have not been increased to meet the demands of the economic turmoil.

Whenever you complain about the bad governance situation, you are quickly given this cliché, it is because of the Russia-Ukraine war! I mean when at all did this war start? When did COVID-19 start? The government was unwise in its quest to maintain power in 2020. He spent what would have been a mitigating factor in these tough times. He sacrificed our future for his selfish political interest.

The least said about the economic management team the better. Ghanaians thought these were the best brains, but it has turned out to be that these are the best empty brains we have. The rate at which the American dollar is disgracing the Ghana cedis is laughable if not shameful. Recently, it was reported that the Ghana cedis are one of the worst currencies in the world. Citizens have not heard of any reasonable ways put in place by the government to check this depreciation.

It looks as if Ghanaians are mourning more than the bereaved. Even the Chines who brought this COVID-19 are not suffering as we do in this country. Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, a lot of economic sanctions have been handed down to Russia and its impact has been crucial on its citizens, but these Russians are not suffering as Ghanaians. Even the natives of Ukraine who are currently in Kyiv and some other parts of the country are not suffering this economic hardship as we do, but we are meant to believe that every hardship we are going through now is a result of the war and COVID-19.

Where did we go wrong as a country? Is it because of bad insensitive leadership or sheer arrogance of power that has landed us here? The truth is no government official is suffering the pains of the ordinary citizen. Everything they use is freely given by the state-sponsored by the ordinary taxpayer. We have sold our souls to the devil by putting these incompetent people at the helm of affairs. We have gone wrong because we have put a lot of sycophants on our gates.
And we are told that the worst is yet to come. As of now, a lot of people are depressed and frustrated. You can expect that the rate of criminal activities will move higher if rapid solutions are not provided.

In these difficult moments, we need leaders who can talk a sense of calmness into the populace, we need leaders who will be humble enough to admit and apologize to Ghanaians for the rate at which they have brought this excruciating hardship. This is not the time to be trumpeting excuses and blame games. This is the time of action, and it must be done now!

Ghana must work again, Ghana will work again, YOUNG POSITIVIST, a concerned citizen of Ghana.