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Be modest in spending - Economists urge government

BY: Kester Aburam Korankye & Edward Acquah
Prof. John Gatsi & Dr Michael — Owusu-Akomeah

Some economic analysts have urged the new government to be modest in its spending and also accommodating of divergent views to help move the country out of the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They said the current challenges in the economy required prudence and cool headedness to put the country back on the path of growth.

Sections of the public have also mentioned job creation as their major expectation of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as he begins his second term in office.

According to them, unemployment remained a “serious national issue” that required the urgent attention of the government.

They expressed the views in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic on what the President should concern himself with in his second term.

Opposing views

The Dean of the Business School of the University of Cape Coast, Professor John Gatsi, and the Dean of Students of the Ghana Communications Technology University (GCTU), Dr Michael Owusu-Akomea, in separate interviews, entreated the new government to appreciate opposing views and rule by compromise to help turn around the economic situation in the country.

“Consultations and appreciation of the views of others in Parliament are required right now, and that is the posture that I expect of the government,” Prof. Gatsi said.

“In the last four years, there was the example of the $2.2 billion Eurobond issued without parliamentary approval, and you will also recall that the GH¢21 billion that was spent on the banking sector resolution was also not approved by Parliament as a proper budget. In those cases, the money was taken before the government went to Parliament for ratification.

“Parliament now has the opportunity not only to ensure proper scrutiny but also showcase its effectiveness in terms of oversight of government activities, especially expenditure,” he said.

Measures

For his part, Dr Owusu-Akomea said he expected the new government to continue the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, while making the effort to find lasting solutions to its negative effects on the economy.

He also said for Ghana to consolidate the gains made from its budding democracy, the government must strive to make the Civil Service more productive and resourceful. 

Jobs

Other people appealed to the new government to roll out a nationwide plan that would create more sustainable jobs for the people, especially the teeming unemployed youth.

An unemployed graduate, Samuel Ayitey, entreated the government to be “more transparent and fair” in the recruitment of people into the various security agencies and the public service.

“For the past three years, I’ve been struggling to secure recruitment into the Police and the Immigration services. The system is not fair,” he said.

A trader, Maame Esi, also appealed to the government to continue with its One-district, One-factory programme to help create more jobs for the people.

A banker, Mr Gabriel Gator, entreated the President to “drastically reduce” the number of ministers to lessen the burden on the public purse.

“For instance, I think the Ministry of Regional Reorganisation and Development is no longer necessary. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development should rather be doing that work,” he suggested.

Elections

President Akufo-Addo won the December 2020 general election and has, therefore, begun his second term in office.

His closest contender, former President John Dramani Mahama, has, however, rejected the results as declared by the Electoral Commission and petitioned the Supreme Court to set aside the results for fresh elections to be conducted.

As a result of the outcome of the elections, the country now has a hung Parliament, the first of its kind in the Fourth Republic.

Another novelty is the fact that the new Speaker of Parliament is from the opposition National Democratic Congress.