A former Information Minister under the erstwhile Kufuor government, Stephen Asamoah Boateng says the just ended National Economic Forum was “unnecessary at this time”.
According to him, the whole idea of a forum “was not thought through,” insisting the recommendations dubbed the Senchi Consensus were nothing new which government did not know.
He said the challenge of government has been the implementation of what it already knows.
He was speaking on the three day National Economic Forum on Joy FM’s and Multi TV news analysis programme Newsfile programme, Saturday.
The forum brought together about 140 economic experts and stakeholders to discuss how to stabilise Ghana’s ailing economy.
A 22-point consensus was reached with a commitment by government to implement details of the consensus.
Critics are however sceptical about government’s commitment to carry through with the roadmap.
Stephen Asamoah Boateng, whose party, the New Patriotic Party boycotted the forum said even the name, Forum instead of a Dialogue suggested the NDC government does not intend to go any further than merely discussing the issues.
He said the Forum suggested a market place where people, after eating comfortably sit around and talk and beyond the talk go home without any plan to implement.
Drawing disparities between the just ended Senchi Consensus, and the National Economic Dialogue organised by the NPP in 2001, Asamoah Boateng said the NPP after inheriting a baldly managed economy planned the dialogue for several months, brought all stakeholders together to share ideas on how to resuscitate the economy and fused those ideas with the NPP agenda of the Golden Age of Business.
He said the roadmap that was drawn after the 2001 Dialogue was fervently implemented by the National Development Planning Commission which had Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom as the chair.
On the contrary, Asamoah Boateng said the NDC after mismanaging the economy for nearly six years and “chopping the meat to the bone” just decided to hold a forum and did not bother to do thorough pre-forum negotiations to get all stakeholders, including the NPP on board.
He said the NDC cannot “pluck all the feathers of the bird and call the NPP to give a name to the bird.”
But a member of the panel Kweku Baako Jnr said he respects the NPP’s decision not to boycott the forum but disagrees with them.
He said the NPP with an array of human resource on economic issues should have gone to the forum to share their opinions on the country’s state of the economy.
He disagreed with Asamoah Boateng on controversial issue about whether the name forum was appropriate.
He said whether Forum or Dialogue, the substance should be the same if organisers were willing to implement the roadmap that came out of the forum or dialogue.