‘Stop Waste To Save Economy’

Heads of Micro-Enterprise Unit at First National and PenTrust Limited, Kofi Asamoah- Siaw and Mrs. Victoria Armah Amertor, have respectively charged government- as a matter of urgency- stop the wastage of public resources and funds as part of measures to savage the economy and the national currency.

The two, who spoke on Ghana Great and Strong, a weekend national agenda programme aired on Ghana’s premier internet based radio, www.hedjorleonlineradio.com last Saturday, said the numerous challenges the country faces are as a result of municipal, departments and agencies inability to harness national resources to enhance the greater good of Ghanaians.

According to Mr. Asamoah-Siaw, the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) did a better job with fewer resources than what the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development (GYEEDA) had done since its inception.

He wondered why six state agencies were wasting money building the same identification system that one could do and share with the others.

The banker explained that what President Mahama was doing was simply an application of political power to solve problems.

He said it would have been better if the country had men who could introduce new ideas to fix the economy.

He questioned the whereabouts of the remainder of 750 million euros left of the 1billon euro bond.

Mr. Asamoah-Siaw charged government to provide excellent leadership to mitigate the plight of Ghanaians.

Mrs. Armah Amertor on her part questioned how government was handling investors who are already in the country, adding that that Samsung had threatened to pack out due to high cost of production.

She noted that the problems the country faces are the same old ones–erratic power supply, shortage of water, high cost of production and that fixing them should not be a problem for government.

She however disagreed with President Mahama’s assertion that the economy was doing well and that there was no need for Ghanaians to panic, saying the escalating prices of goods and services say otherwise.

The PenTrust head therefore asked government to adopt a non-partisan approach by soliciting support from people in the private sector to help fix the economy.

“The president’s assurances are immaterial since people cannot see any change in their lives.

People are changing brands they once loved to sub standardized ones because times are hard,” she said.

Mrs. Armah Amertor said: “the solutions to our problems should be long-term.

“If government saw it wise to set up the three wise men to superintend over the building of schools, then the same wise men can be found to solve our economic crisis,” she noted.

She further asserted that lots of people have migrated to Accra since in their farming communities, there are no good roads to transport farm produce to market centres therefore making the venture not profitable.

“300 tonnes of fish are imported into the country annually, if this is done then how can you check dollarization? The re-registration of government vehicles was a pure wastage.

General Manager of GN Investments, Benjamin Afreh, who was also on the programme said all that President Mahama was doing was fighting fire and that he [Benjamin Afreh] felt should the economy survive under the president’s directives, it will not last since it is an import-based economy.

“Until we begin to change the fundamentals of our economy by empowering local businessmen and entrepreneurs, the economy won’t get better,” he advised.

He said the president has been repeating what people already know and urged him to issue directives to halt the importation of commodities and “empower local businesses to produce what we need.”

He disclosed that Ghana exports timber to China and it [China] in turn manufactures furniture which is imported by “our furniture companies.”

Mr. Afreh entreated government to be truthful to Ghanaians by telling them the real state of the economy.

Head of Research at Gold Coast Fund Management Limited (GGFML,) Samuel Ampah, who later joined the programme, said government needed to cut down its expenditure as well as the huge budget deficits.

On broadening the tax base, he questioned the rationale saying corruption will make its impact insignificant.

“Fight corruption, being fiscally disciplined and make sure that problems facing the country are brought to the fore so citizens are aware and can help ameliorate the situation,” he said.

He asked government to engage stakeholders when coming out with policies citing the impasse between the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) where the former was informed by the latter before implementing its monetary policy as an example.

He was however sceptical about the fact that donor funds expected in the country could help savage the national currency and the economy.