BY BENJAMIN TANDOH
FOUNDER AND Leader of the All People’s Party, Dr Hassan Ayariga, has blamed the two major political parties for the country’s economic problems.
According to the 2016 Presidential also-ran, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) lack the vision to improve the conditions of the country, adding that, “Ghanaian citizenry are tired of the blame game and want simple workable solutions to their economic, social and political problems.”
Speaking at a press conference at the party headquarters in Accra yesterday, Dr Ayariga said Ghanaians needed practical measures to eradicate the current poor economic situation.
“Ghanaians are asking for very ordinary things – to be able to pay their rents, send their children to good schools, access basic utilities, pay their bills and be happy.
“They [Ghanaians] only seek to be lifted out of poverty and be liberated from the decades of economic hardship, hopelessness, unemployment, high cost of living, institutional collapse and the chronic micro- and macro-volatilities which have broken the moral fibre of our economic pride as a people, and not the theatricals that I see played out between the two political parties that have perfected the abuse of the trust people place in them,” he said.
Response to Bawumia
The former flag bearer of the People’s National Congress described the town hall meeting addressed by the government’s economic team led by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, as a platform to “justify their below-average performance”.
According to him, “the lecture lacked intellectual credibility and defied the concept of consistency as it was delivered by Dr Bawumia. He sought to claw back on key economic principles as he had thought Ghanaians [would like] to know it.”
He expressed the opinion that the government would not rely on a town hall meeting if the government had improved the economy of the country.
“When your economy is well managed you don’t have to tell anyone, the living conditions of the people will speak well for you.
“Our importers and businessmen are struggling because of the free fall of our local currency and our Vice President is saying all is well because his economic management team has performed better than the NDC?” he asked.
He further outlined 28 indicators, which, according to him, had crippled the economy, saying, “The figures will always lie, but the hardship and suffering of the people will equally expose you.”
Some of the indicators he highlighted were collapsed business, more import than export, public workers’ salary arrears, and poor infrastructure, among others.
Agriculture and industrialization
Dr Ayariga reiterated the need for the government to focus on the development of agriculture and industrialisation.
This, he argued, was the best way to improve the economic situation of the country, saying, “The best for our economy is agriculture, it is the bane of development of developing countries, even developed countries still find the need to invest heavily in agriculture.”
He continued that, “We are not supporting and encouraging our farmers enough. Until we find it prudent to reward and honour our farmers and stop worshipping our politicians in V8 vehicles, we will continue to be in trouble.”
He, however, called on the government to revamp some of the abandoned factories in order to add finishing touches to agriculture produce before exporting it.
“[The] Government has successfully abandoned major factories that can generate over 2 million jobs and contribute over $3-billion dollar revenue to rot. We import over $100 million dollars of canned tomato ketchup and fresh tomato for local consumption, yet the Pwalugu Tomato Factory and the Wenchi Tomato Factory are dormant.
“We import almost everything we consume in Ghana. Until we cultivate rice to meet local consumption demands, raise more poultry birds to meet local consumption demands, manufacture our own tomato paste and extract cooking oil here in Ghana, we must stop complaining about cedi depreciation,” he argued.