A renowned economist, Mr Kwame Pianim, has said the adopted communiqué of the National Economic Forum should be the beginning of a national dialogue to improve the economic policy recommendations and their implementation.
He said though the forum had closed, the opportunity for further dialogue would allow the citizens and political parties to take a critical look at the 22-point communiqué.
“The more Ghanaians criticise and make other valuable inputs into the issues raised, the more they get to confirm the right ideas and for any amendments to be made if the need arises,” he said.
More doors opened
Mr Pianim was speaking to the Daily Graphic after the adoption of the communiqué, dubbed the “Senchi Consensus,” at the just-ended three-day economic forum.
“The government has opened the door for more contributions, criticisms and amendment to ensure the inputs of all Ghanaians towards the implementation of the policies reached,” he stated.
Mr Pianim is a leading member of the major opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), whose leadership boycotted the national economic forum on the grounds that the government failed to give them the letter inviting them to the event on time to enable them to scrutinise and make informed contributions at the forum.
They also blamed the government for declining to make available to them the base documents which they claimed contained the issues to be discussed at the forum.
Consensus subject to criticisms
Asked about the tendency of the NPP criticising the adopted consensus, Mr Pianim said: “NPP could take a look at the consensus and make comments and contributions and come to appreciate that a beginning is being made in the right direction.
“As a political party, you are in politics to get the opportunity to govern and improve the living standards of the people. So you do not need to prepare to come to a forum.
“We have already been making comments about the state of the economy. We have our own views as to which direction the economy should move.”
No need to prepare
“Our vice presidential candidate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumiah, has given adequate and reflective critique of where the economy was and is today. Besides our own Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, a former Finance Minister, also knows the economy inside out.
“So if we were given limited time to go and contribute, we could have gone and criticised rightly to let Ghanaians know that we are also concerned about the hardship they are facing,” the economist said.
He added: “When that opportunity comes, we should put aside our personal pride and participate in the national interest.”
Mr Pianim commended the government for recognising it worthwhile to organise the national dialogue to tap the expertise of all Ghanaians, an attitude which, he said, stood contrary to those of many African governments.
“There are too many governments who will not admit that they need help and opinions of experts to supplement what they already have to resolve economic challenges,” he said.
Asked what he could say was quite different about the just-ended forum, the economist described the event as “unique as it was the first time an economic policy committee had been set up to co-ordinate all economic management institutions.”
The committee, he said, would review economic issues and begin a process of aligning fiscal and monetary policies.
“We now will see collaboration among the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Bank of Ghana, National Development Planning Commission and the Ghana Statistical Service.”
“What is also unique was the fact that we also talked about a non-adversarial labour-employer relationship to create new and innovative partnership arrangement for collaboration,” he added.