President John Mahama’s claim that some Ghanaians are unable to take advantage of the economy because they lack skills has sent many tongues wagging, including those from the New Patriotic Party.
The opposition party’s spokesperson on the economy Kweku Kwarteng said the president’s comments were inappropriate and could not be supported by the facts.
He told Joy News all the economic indices pointed in one direction- a shrinking non- performing economy with little or no opportunity for anybody to take advantage of.
Speaking on Volta Star FM during one of his Accounting to the People Tours, President John Mahama said the economy abounds in opportunities and challenged people to build capacity and acquire skills to take advantage of those opportunities.
“…The thing is, if you say [you are not] feeling it in your pocket, it doesn’t mean that the President is going to come from place to place and count money and give to everybody to put in his pocket. The economy will provide the opportunities but it’s for the people to take advantage of them,”
“You would envision that as the economy grows it throws out natural jobs that people can take advantage of but if you do not have the skills or the capacity to take advantage of the growing economy then you will not feel it in your market,” he said.
The president’s comments have triggered lots of controversy with sections of Ghanaians criticizing him and others agreeing with him.
Speaking on Joy News the NPP’s Kweku Kwarteng said the president’s comments were in bad taste.
He said for any economy to be said to be growing there are key indicators which will trigger growth but all those indicators in Mahama’s economy are not impressive.
He said the economy which President John Mahama was referring to is dogged with high inflation and interest rates as well as suffocating taxes all of which has crippled the economy.
“We need to find out what businesses will require in order to do well. Businesses would want lower inflationary rate so that price levels will be fairly stable.
“You would want a reasonably lower interest rate so that when business borrow from the banks they will be able to pay back their loans and make profits and continue to expand their business.
“On taxation businesses must be able to channel back their profits for expansion. Where taxes are high the private sector suffocates.
“You want energy supply to be reliable. On all these counts this government failed,” he said.
He said in 2000, the economy without oil grew at 3%; in 2008 when the NPP was leaving office, the economy had grown without oil to over 9%. He said in 2011, under the NDC, the economy, with oil grew at over 14%.
He found it strange that five years on that same economy, with oil, will shrink to just 4% and yet the president will still say the economy is growing with opportunities.
Kweku Kwarteng argued that an economy left in the hands of the IMF cannot be said to be growing with opportunities.
He called on Ghanaians to change the NDC government in the next election. But the Deputy Minister for Trade Murtala Mohammed said the president “was not speaking out of nothing.”
He said the president has put in place several policy interventions all of which are yielding fruits and there is the need for people to take advantage them.
Murtala Mohammed dismissed claims the president was insensitive in his comments.