Be empathic with economic turnaround efforts — Sam Jonah
A statesman, Sir Sam Esson Jonah, has urged policymakers to be more sensitive to the feelings and needs of the citizens as they initiate measures to navigate the difficult path of economic restructuring.
He said while addressing the challenges required sacrifices from everybody, the revival process must be empathetic such that it did not exacerbate the difficulties facing citizens.
Addressing the fifth session of the 55th graduation of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Sir Sam, who is the Chancellor of the university, also advised against finger pointing in the midst of the crisis, stating that “this is not the time for blame game.”
Instead, the Executive Chairman of Jonah Capital said, "We need to focus on a constructive spirit to get us out of the mess we find ourselves in”.
The ceremony was for persons who completed various postgraduate programmes of study in the 2021/2022 academic year.
It was graced by the Paramount Chief of the Oguaa traditional area, Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, some Members of Parliament (MPs) and the academic community.
Sir Sam said the while ceremony was a momentous one for the graduates, it happened at a time of great uncertainty and adversity for the nation.
“We are facing unprecedented times against the backdrop of complex, volatile and uncertain economic and geopolitical developments.
“This situation has fostered a growing sense of hopelessness and helplessness, particularly among our youth, a development which has the potential to undermine the security and stability of our nation,” the UCC chancellor said.
He described the economic situation as “very challenging,” with interest rates and inflation at intolerably high levels.
With the local currency also volatile, the business executive, who chairs the boards of a number of companies across the world, said it made for “a dangerous cocktail.”
“As we have been witnessing, there are no pretty policy choices for dealing with this situation,” he said.
Turning his attention to potential solutions, Sir Jonah said now was not the time for business as usual but a time to take tough and bold decisions to help assuage the pain of the people and stabilise the situation.
“As we have been witnessing, there are no pretty policy choices for dealing with this situation.
In this regard, let me say a lot of sacrifices will be expected of all of us.
It is not going to be business as usual and none of us should pretend it will be.
“My advice to key policymakers is that the times we live in call for a healthy dose of humility in decision making as we navigate the difficult path of economic restructuring.
“In this regard, it is crucial that we take our decisions with empathy and a keen understanding of the impact of our actions on the lives of our citizens,” the businessman stated.
The UCC chancellor said the country must leverage the challenges to unite and foster a spirit of unity, resilience and determination.
“Let us work collectively to create opportunities for our youth and build a future that is filled with promise and prosperity.
“We must listen to the voices of our youth and consider their perspectives as we develop policies and strategies for the betterment of our nation.
Engage with them, learn from their experiences and work together to create an environment where everyone can thrive,” he said.
Make challenges opportunities
Turning his attention to the graduates, Sir Sam said they must view the challenging times as an opportunity for growth, innovation and change.
He said their UCC journey had given them the essential skills needed to weather the current storm and they must now be versatile, innovative and adaptable.
“You have also learnt that in life, success in any endeavour is a product of hard work, commitment, dedication, discipline and of course, the right attitude.
“Let me remind all of you that it is during the most trying moments in history that true leaders emerge and your education has provided you with the tools to become those leaders,” he said.
Sir Sam urged them to be creative and passionate as that would help them to make a positive impact on society.
He further encouraged them to stay curious, never stop learning and should not shy away from challenges.
“Your journey may not always be smooth but persevere because it is through adversity that we grow stronger and wiser.
The future of our nation lies in your hands,” he added.