Speed up, you’re a bit slow – Lord Mensah to Ofori Atta, gov’t

An economist and a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr. Lord Mensah, has said it is good that the Finance Minister Mr. Ken Ofori Atta has realized that the government is not speeding up its work in transforming the local economy.

Dr Mensah told Alfred Ocansey on the News 360  on TV3 Sunday May 9 that the Ghanaian economy has for the past four years, been at the macro level, a situation that has led to the inability of the people to feel the gradual growth in their pockets.

He said this in reaction to the press conference held by the Finance Minister following the #Fix Economy movement initiated by some Ghanaians.

Mr Ofori Atta said at the press encounter on Sunday that “I acknowledge that these are challenging times for many of us, and we, like almost all the countries in the world, are living through rough weather. A time that has put a burden on the necessities of lives and livelihoods never like before in recent history. Unfortunately, these external shocks have heightened Ghana’s perennial problems, which we are committed to address.

“In extraordinary times, you should expect exceptional leadership from your Government. I truly believe we cannot ensure exceptional leadership without a collective effort. So, I commend the youth for calling on Government and leaders to be at their best. This shows the patriotism of the Ghanaian youth, echoing the President’s call to Be a Citizen, Not a Spectator. You have elected us to solve the problems that face this country. We will continue to work with you and other stakeholders to do just that.”

He further listed  a numbers of initiatives put out by the government to fix the economy.

He said “First, I am working with the Minister for Water and Sanitation to immediately ensure potable water to areas with felt need, especially in the most urban areas. Second, I am working with the Ministers of Roads and Highways, Transport and Interior to address congestion along the major highways.

“Third, we are fast-tracking the implementation of the US$200million Jobs and Skills Programme to enhance job creation significantly. This intervention is designed to facilitate new and expanded private sector businesses to employ a lot more people. This we believe is a more sustainable way to rebuild this economy instead of expanding Government employment schemes. Fourth, starting this month, we are rolling over 8 additional interventions under the GhanaCARES ‘Obataanpa’ programme. These will be in the Health, Agriculture, Tourism, Trade, Digitization, Science and technology, Housing and financial services.

“Fifth, by the end of July, we will have a new Development Bank that will provide long-term wholesale financing to the private sector through Commercial banks.”

He added: “The good people of Ghana have given us a mandate to get things done. For us as a Government, this is a clarion call for a national conversation on the shared burden to renew the social contract of our democracy. At its minimum, we should ensure social justice and social mobility for most Ghanaians. At our best, we should open for all Ghanaians, an economic system under which each citizen shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best in him or her. As I always have, I will commit to working to fix those structures that will set Ghana on this path.”

Sharing his perspectives on this, Dr Lord Mensah told Ocansey that “If you look at the categorization of the response, clearly, he gave us where we are coming from and where he wants us to go.

“All the things that were listed in the 2021 budget clearly are supposed to be policies that help in creating jobs, he further indicated to us that he is prepared to speed up some of these policies like the Obaatanpa Care and the others.

“Effectively, I think they have come to realize that they are a bit slow. That is why he uses the word speed up because for the past four years, we seem to still have our economy hanging at the macro level for which those who are supposed to feel it in their individual pockets are not coming.

“That is why this call of Fix the Economy. It is a good signal and we hope he will go by his words and he will keep to that speed up that he used.”


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