The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) is highly disappointed in the manner with which NPP and Mills-led NDC Administration have been engaging in the business as usual blame game over the difficulties being experienced in the economy.  We wish to place on record with the media and the public in general that one way to stop this dangerous game is to expand the political space to allow other political parties to participate in public discussions about important national matters such as the economy and job creation.  The PPP is the best alternative to the status quo as we have prepared ourselves very well to offer good implementable ideas and solutions.

 

On the matter of the value of our currency, we sounded an alarm in January and again several weeks ago.  Who was listening?  Who is listening and paying attention today?  We wrote last month:

“The rate at which the local currency ‘cedi’ is depreciating against the dollar, Pound and Euro is alarming.  We recall that when the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) came out in January this year to warn about the consequences of the fast depreciating condition of the cedi, the Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffour came out with his assertion, “the recent depreciation in the value of the cedi is only a temporary setback in the country’s economic development” Since this statement by Dr. Duffuor the cedi has lost about 8.42% of its value to the dollar. To help Ghanaians understand what is happening, on January 3rd 2012 the exchange rate for the cedi to dollar was 1.57p, as at Monday 26th March 2012 the exchange rate for the cedi to dollar is 1.70p. These figures are the interbank rates and not the forex rates.”

This situation weakened the basic fundamentals of Ghanaian business and sharply affected investor and business confidence in the country. Traders, corporate Ghana and Ghanaians are lamenting the effects of the depreciating cedi against other trading currencies as their purchasing power has been drastically reduced.  Indeed, business people have lost money, big money.

 

The trend within the global economy shows a scary situation for Ghana, as it predicts that the value of the cedi might fall further from the 10 percentage predicted earlier by analysts for 2012 to about 15 percentage if government is not proactive with its fiscal policy management.

 

We also recall that during the global economic crises when the NPP was in power, the cedi depreciated against the dollar by 25 percent. So there is a fundamental structural problem facing the Ghanaian economy which we must address away from partisan, unproductive blame game.  The GDP growth may be high, but as long as agro-industry, manufacturing, tourism and other areas that can provide jobs remain unsupported, Ghanaian labour will remain unemployed and severely underemployed.  We must find the courage and determination to add value to the raw materials produced in this country. The PPP has the will to do what is needed to make this happen.

Let us not also forget that 2012 is an election year so election-related uncertainty may well continue to hit the exchange rate which will further push the cedi down. The threats to resort to violence exhibited by the NDC and NPP must be checked.  No political party must be allowed to implement a win at all cost campaign.

 

Political propaganda cannot wish away the fact that at least 40 percent of Ghanaians are unemployed.  When in the past ten years over 1.5 million children failed BECE examination, it is clear why if one removes the underemployed from the column of the employed, the unemployment rate in Ghana will exceed 50%.

 

The PPP wishes to sound a very loud alarm bell to all Ghanaians to be wide awake and pay attention to what is happening to the economy and not be taken in by all the propaganda and noise on the political front.

 

Consistent with the PPP’s good economic management principles, we will bring fiscal discipline into the system and at the same time support our indigenous businesses to ensure that we keep money in our own banking system to be used to support our private sector, when we get the mandate to govern the country after the 2012 elections.  We will bring the economy back home by using government’s purchasing power to ensure that our local contractors, consultants and industries gain a market at home, will reduce pressure on the Ghana cedi while creating jobs for our men and women.  We will implement with a sense of urgency, the national identification system and promote vigorously the new pension law to bring the long term money the private sector needs and inject needed discipline into the system.  Clearly, Ghana needs the progressive, pragmatic approach of the PPP to keep the value of the cedi and restore human values.

 

Finally, instead of engaging in costly propaganda, the PPP’s view is that if all of our Presidents account annually to Parliament and to the nation on how they are implementing the principles and also show how the co-ordinated progamme promotes these principles, there will be less anxiety than exists presently over where this nation is heading.

 

Awake Ghana!

 

Kofi Asamoah-Siaw

National Secretary

7 May 2012

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