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Mahama Proposes Another Economic Dialogue To Akufo-Addo

The Herald logo The Herald 2019-03-15 Josephine Nettey
John Dramani Mahama wearing a suit and tie: Mahama-Proposes-Another-Economic-Dialogue-To-Akufo-Addo.jpg © Provided by The Herald Mahama-Proposes-Another-Economic-Dialogue-To-Akufo-Addo.jpg

Former President John Mahama, has urged the Akufo-Addo administration to hold a stakeholder forum on the economy in the wake of the cedi’s struggles.

Recalling his administration’s three-day Senchi Economic Forum in 2014, which the now-governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) sensationally boycotted, Mr Mahama, said the current government was “probably at such a decision point.”

The cedi has depreciated against the dollar from GHc4.9 to over GHc5.5 since the turn of the year.

President Akufo-Addo, has admitted that this has left him “extremely upset and anxious”.

The government is currently also eyeing funds from COCOBOD and the launch of the $3 billion Eurobond to stabilise the currency.

In a message on Facebook, the former president said: “the recent free fall of the cedi against all major foreign currencies, may be exposing a deeper malaise in the ‘fundamentals of the economy’.”

“It may serve Akufo-Addo/Bawumia and their economic team well to own up to their shortcomings and call a Senchi type stakeholder forum on the economy.”

Mr Mahama held that such a move would bolster the government’s credibility when it creates “a consultative process that forges a consensus and allows a nation to move forward.”

The National Economic Forum at Senchi in 2014 ended with a 22-point resolution.

Among other things, stakeholders agreed that the Directive Principles of State Policy must continue to guide the national development effort, that long term national interest should supersede all other interests and that the State must encourage indigenous entrepreneurship.

The participants also proposed the amendment of the Bank of Ghana Act to set a ceiling on its lending to the government.

The forum brought together a wide range of stakeholders to promote dialogue to help develop a national consensus on some economic policy issues.

Following the forum, an Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) at the National Development Planning Commission was inaugurated with the responsibility of guiding the implementation of the recommendations of the Forum.

In a Facebook post, Mr Mahama said:“The recent free fall of the cedi against all major foreign currencies, may be exposing a deeper malaise in the “fundamentals of the economy”. It may serve Akufo-Addo/Bawumia and their economic team well to own up to their shortcomings and call a Senchi type stakeholder forum on the economy”.

The post also noted:” There are times when a leader or a party must admit that they do not have all the answers to the challenges facing the economy or a particular sector. At such times, it does not take away from your dignity, but adds to your credibility, when you create a consultative process that forges a consensus and allows a nation to move forward.

“I faced one such decision point as President in 2014. The 3-day Senchi Economic Forum was held in May 2014. It was a broad consultative process and even though it was boycotted by the opposition NPP, it achieved its objective of producing the famous Senchi Report which contributed to the Homegrown Fiscal Consolidation Programme.”

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has assured that the cedi would stabilise in the next few weeks.

Speaking to Journalists outside Parliament House Wednesday, March 13, 2019, Mr Ofori-Atta, said the government was expecting large inflows of foreign exchange which will help turn around the value of the cedi.

“Really I am very confident that a reversal is going to occur and that it [cedi] is going to be pretty stable going forward. We have about 200 million dollars coming in from COCOBOD and another 600 million from COCOBOD in a month or so…and that should close within the next weeks or so…with the type of capital that we expect in the few weeks we really expect a reversal and a stability,” the Finance Minister said.

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