Former President Jerry John Rawlings yesterday launched an unprovoked attack on his successor, John Agyekum Kufuor, accusing the latter’s administration of planting the seed of the current economic crisis in the country.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the ongoing National Economic Forum at Akosombo in the Eastern Region, Mr. Rawlings said, ‘The economic disruption and political behaviour that has been foisted on this country since 2001 has been ignoble and yet if you look and listen to the statistics the last speaker gave, it might give you an idea or an indication of when it started and what I am talking about.’
The forum, which has brought together people from all shades of opinion including economists, unionists, among others, is under the theme, ‘Changing the narrative: building a national consensus for economic and social transformation.’
Even though Mr. Rawlings did not specifically mention the name of Mr. Kufuor, his reference to the year 2001 pointed to when the NPP administration took over from him.
In spite of his persistent criticisms of the Kufuor administration, he said propagandists had swept the matter under the carpet.
According to the NDC founder, the economic situation in the country now required selfless and bold decision to fix the mess.
The problem was basically created by over-spending in the 2012 elections, leading to a budget deficit of GH¢8.7 billion.
Interestingly, available statistics have it that between the year 1999-2000 when he (Rawlings) was President, inflation rose to an all-time high – 40.5 percent – with interest rate over 45 percent.
But Rawlings said, ‘If we (Ghanaians) cannot see or recognise the ultimate objective then to be quite honest, I don’t know what we are about in this country.”
He said the country was in a pretty tight situation and “we cannot escape with ease, unless we are able to trace the genesis of the problem.’
He believed it would be quite difficult for the country to overcome the current economic conditions unless ‘we are ready for a very serious clean-up that will require bold and selfless men and women.’
The former President was optimistic that ‘we have done it before and it can be done again.”
Mr. Rawlings therefore advocated a thorough examination of the problem to find a lasting solution.
He endorsed the economic forum but advised government to revise some aspects of its policies to improve the living conditions of the people.
‘Many aspects need looking at and examining and dealt with seriously, but I think it is very important that something that is happening in this country does not escape us.’
Kufuor’s administration’s domestic policy in the first term was marked by fiscal and monetary stringency on the economic front, aimed at stabilizing a national economy that had stagnated and was in decline.
His social vision was focused on unleashing the entrepreneurial, creative and innovative potential of Ghanaians as a means of creating wealth and hence dealing with the social challenges facing them.
This socio-economic vision was encapsulated in the Five Priority Areas Programme, viz., the pursuit of good governance, modernization of agriculture for rural development, private sector participation, enhanced social services and vigorous infrastructure development.
The forum is being boycotted by the main opposition party, NPP, which said nothing concrete would come out of it, claiming that it would be another talk shop.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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