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Mahama: ‘I can’t go round putting money in everybody’s pocket; take advantage of economy’

President John Mahama has told critics who say they cannot feel the positive effect of the growing economy “in their pockets” that he, as the leader of the nation, cannot personally go round the length and breadth of the country putting money into people’s pockets, adding that such critics can fill their pockets with money by taking advantage of the opportunities that abound in the flourishing economy.

Responding to a question on Volta Star Radio in the Volta region on Thursday April 21, about critics saying they could not feel the positive effects of the growing economy in their pockets, Mr Mahama, who is on his ‘Accounting to the People’ tour, said: “The point is, when you talk about the economy, what the economy does is, it creates opportunities for people, and, so, 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 you do not have the capacity to take advantage of a growing economy, then you will not feel it in your pocket.

“…The thing is, if you say ‘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 it to everybody to put it in his pocket.The economy will provide the opportunities, but it’s for the people to take advantage of it.”

Citing some economic opportunities spurred in the region as an example to buttress his point, Mr Mahama said: “Southern Volta Basin is becoming the major rice producing hub of Ghana, and, so, if you go to South Tongu and North Tongu, and all those places, there are young people, who have started to grow rice and are changing their lives.”

“I visited Asutuare and I sat with a young boy called Godwin, and he’s got a four-hectare rice field and Godwin is producing rice and he’s looking after his family, and he’s taking his three children to school, paying their fees from his rice field.

“The same thing I just said about cocoa production …we are growing about how many thousands of seedlings of cocoa in the northern Volta area; Government is doing its bit: we are giving the seedlings out for free, we are giving all the inputs, agricultural extension advice, and everything for free, and, so, if the chiefs give the young people the land, then we can grow cocoa and the young people can take advantage. …One of the farms has come up in the North Tongu area…and that farm, alone, is employing almost a thousand young people, suddenly, to work, and, so, these are things that are happening. But if everybody is sitting with his hands crossed and saying that: ‘Oh, but if they say the economy is growing, why am I not feeling it in my pocket?’ you need to get up and take advantage of the opportunities that the economy is creating and that is how money comes into your pocket,” Mr Mahama explained.

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