FORMER PRESIDENT Jerry John Rawlings has finally broken his silence over the harsh economic situation in the country, admitting that ‘times are hard’.
The ex-President could not hold himself back when he met two celebrated Ghanaian boxers, Bukom Banku and Ayittey Powers, who visited his residence on Thursday to receive some donation from him.
Mr Rawlings, who was a fierce critic of the previous administration of John Evans Atta Mills, had been uncharacteristically quiet through the relatively harsher economic environment created by the John Mahama administration.
But on Thursday, he broke his silence, saying living conditions had spiraled out of control.
JJ Rawlings welcoming Bukom Banku while Aryitey Powers looks on
‘Have you seen how fees have gone up? One crate of milk which used to be sold for GH¢35 is now GH¢60. They [the government] provide us with one or two soldiers and the little I can do is to provide them with coffee, sugar and milk, etc … Times are hard,’ he told the small entourage that accompanied the boxers to his residence.
Critics have wondered why despite the relatively harsher economic conditions imposed by the Mahama administration, the strong critic of the previous Kufuor and Mills administrations is refusing to chastise the Mahama government.
The Mahama administration has seen a record number of civil protests in the recent history of the country, reflecting how hopeless the economic situation has become.
The pockets of civil protests recently culminated in a mega nationwide industrial action staged by organised labour simultaneously across all the 10 regions of Ghana.
Under the current administration, the country has been plagued by high cost of living triggered by rising food prices, skyrocketing fuel prices, utility prices and a fall in the coun try’s currency.
The situation is further compounded by erratic supply of electricity, unreliable supply of water, constant increases in taxes, inefficient revenue collection, very poor road networks and a ballooning public debt caused by unbridled government spending on questionable projects.
But ex-President Rawlings said curbing the hardship was a collective responsibility of both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and the citizenry.
“We must all bear the responsibility,” he charged.
‘People deserve the governments they end up with…Should it surprise us in any way that we are suffering the way we are doing? If Kumchacha, a self-styled preacher, can take advantage of you, why can’t some corrupt politician take advantage of you?’ the ex-President argued.
The economic situation has forced the Mahama administration to go cup-inhand to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout of an unspecified amount of money.
Critics have warned that the decision to seek an IMF intervention will further compound the economic woes of Ghanaians.
BY Raphael Ofori-Adeniran
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