The Head of Policy Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the Presidency Dr. Tony Aidoo, says Government is not “Father Christmas” meaning it cannot continue to subsidize everything all in the name of social democratic principles.
Dr. Aidoo said this in reaction to a statement by the General Secretary of the Trades Union (TUC), to the effect that the NDC was gradually losing its social democratic credentials.
Mr. Kofi Asamoah was speaking to Citi News after the Union had released a statement condemning the recent price hikes in petroleum products.
According to him, the quantum of increase at the beginning of a new year coupled with the utility price hikes in 2009 indicates that government is becoming insensitive to the plight of Ghanaians.
Mr. Kofi Asamoah said the Government was succumbing to pressures from the IMF and the World Bank and by extension increasingly losing its democratic credentials.
“Gradually if it (NDC) does not take care and allow the IMF to be dictating the way it is doing in the name of full recovery and all that, they will kill us. Over the years, we have given in to the whims and caprices of these international financial institutions yet it didn’t give us any benefits” he said.
The TUC wants government to as a matter of urgency, reduce the increases. Mr. Asamoah said the Union will meet to decide its next line of action if Government does not consider a review.
“I can assure you that if the increases were done in a gradual way people would not be crying this way. Where are they pushing us to? Such an increase will have serious implications for the face values of income, it will have serious implications for industry, it will have serious implications for cost of living and then serious implications for job security,” he lamented.
But the Head of Policy Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the Presidency Dr. Tony Aidoo, disagrees with the TUC Boss.
He started his submission by stating that “Being a social democrat doesn’t mean that you are Father Christmas. What it means is that you take account of the objective conditions on the ground and administer your affairs according to the imperatives that come of out of those objective conditions” he said.
According to Dr. Tony Aidoo, such tough decisions will in the end inure to the benefit of the populace. He said Government cannot watch the nation’s oil refinery to continue to dwindle as a result of huge indebtedness.
Dr. Aidoo dismissed the TUC’s claim that Government was succumbing to international pressures hence such tough decisions.
“It is interesting that after eight years of relative silence in the NPP regime when increment went as far as 100% and sometimes 120%, the TUC was relatively silent. A mere 30% increment has brought out this kind of reaction. It’s horrendous! The increment imposed on this country by the NPP Government never invited a whisper from the TUC” he said.
“The very nature of the increment in the fuel crisis indicates the NDC’s socialist concerns of the underprivileged. As you noted, kerosene did not go up because we know that it is the commodity that is used by the greater number of the underprivileged population especially the rural folk. Premix did not go up because it has considerable economic input for those who are strangulated within the area of fishing for their means of living. That is indicative of the socialist concern of the NDC” he noted.