Posted: Friday 2nd May 2014 at 13:42 pm

Discuss issues of economy dispassionately – Catholic Bishops Conference advises Ghanaians

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The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference has called on Ghanaians, irrespective of their political affiliation, tribal or ethnic background, to discuss the issues of the economy in a dispassionate manner and devoid of rancour and political mischief. 

“The state of Ghana’s economy should be the concern of all Ghanaians and we all must help find solutions to it,” it said.  

In a solidary message to Ghanaian workers on the commemoration of May Day,  the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference in a statement signed by its President, Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, also called on workers to “work hard to increase production to place Ghana’s economy on a sound footing to accelerate our forward march to become a middle income country in the next few years”. 

“We also urge organised labour to exercise restraint in negotiations on the minimum wage and the government to engage in dialogue always,” it said.  May Day celebration

It described the theme for the celebration, “Ghana’s Economy: A Concern for All,”  as an appropriate one and could not have been chosen at a better time than now.  

It acknowledged that the economy was not in the best of shape and that something had to be done about it.

“While we are happy about the fact that Ghana is relatively stable and peaceful and while we pray that we will do all we can to maintain it and even improve upon it, we also believe that the time has come for the country to translate its peaceful, stable and investor-friendly climate into concrete and real economic transformation,” it stated.  VAT

On the furore surrounding the introduction of the 17.5 per cent VAT charges on non-essential banking services, it said the lack of proper education on the matter was to blame for the confusion that had characterised the exercise. 

“We are happy that the same exercise has been suspended to allow for more education on the matter and hope that the right thing would be done to avoid further confusion. Knowing that the vast majority of our people are unbanked, we trust that the banking sector will collaborate with the government to resolve this problem amicably to erase any fears that customers may have and to pave the way for workers who may yet not have bank accounts to proceed to have them,” it stated. Economic Partnership Agreement

The statement urged the government to carefully study the contents of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union to know its merits and demerits before proceeding to sign or not. 

“In this way, we would have taken care to forestall any challenges or difficulties that may arise out of any of the decisions we take on this issue,” it said. Employment and related issues

The statement also expressed concern about the rising incidence of youth unemployment and called on the government and the private sector to help find practical solutions to this phenomenon.  

It observed that if the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) programme was structured and implemented well, it could go a long way to solve youth unemployment in the country. 

It, therefore, asked the government to urgently fast-track the proposed restructuring of GYEEDA to serve its intended purpose. 

“In the same vein, we wish to encourage our government to do something about the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) programme to help bridge the poverty gap between the north and the south, as well as prevent the unbridled migration of the youth from the north to the south to seek non-existing jobs,” it said.

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