This month every year, will be remembered as the month Ghanaians lost their sitting President. On Thursday July 24, 2012, the country was thrown into a state of mourning, because a day which started as a normal day was greeted with wailing, some minutes after mid-day.
That fateful day did not only come with mourning, but it marked the beginning of our economic woes. It was supposed to mark the beginning of a new era, with hope and a sense of beginning, but our hopes were dashed immediately after wiping each others tears.
Whiles counting the days to that fateful day, when we will be celebrating two years on the passing of President, John Evans Atta Mills, we were reminded of the reason why we should mourn him this year, more than we did last year and the year before last.
Not only did we begin the month, with increases in utility prices, i.e. electricity and water, we now have to contend with increases in petroleum products.
The announcement of the increase had barely sunk in; when commercial drivers also announced 15 per cent increment in lorry fares. I cannot begin to highlight what the far reaching implication to the increases in fares means. It is going to have a trickledown effect on the prices of goods and services.
The depreciation of the Cedi, which is the main cause of all of these increases, is also not achieving any stability. The United States Dollar, which is our major trading currency, is appreciating by the day. The price of crude on the world market has seen a relative stability; yet we have to increase fuel, because we need more of the Cedi to be able to import the product.
In 2010, under extreme and extraneous condition, the country achieved single digit inflation, this was even under the old Professor, who was deemed to be sick and uninspiring, now under the able- bodied and strong President Inflation is hovering around 15 per cent and rising by the day.
When a President serves his term and exits, he is to be missed, but not as much as Ghanaians misses the late President Mills. He is missed more, because he did not leave long enough to finish what he started before his untimely death.
This month, while we wait to eulogize him, we were reminded of how much he sacrificed for this country, even when the world was just recovering from near recession.
The success of his three and half years in office cannot be attributed to him alone, but the collective effort of everybody who served in his Government. Was he afraid to take bold decisions or what he did was rational; I will say yes, because you do not increase petroleum products, when you have single digit inflation, you do not increase fuel prices, when your currency is stable etc?
His first major achievement as a President, was in his choice of Ministers, he appointed achievers and goal getters, people or individuals who have a track record of achievements, along the line, those he felt are not pulling their weights, he ask that they step aside. That was the legacy of a leader, who was considered weak and called many names.
Our current President, instead of putting his best foot forward, unfortunately started on a wrong note, two individuals occupying sensitive positions in this country do not qualify to be in their positions, not in terms of letters after their names, but they lack the capacity and capabilities to man those places, and here I am talking about the Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper and the Governor of Bank Of Ghana (BoG),
Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah.
Everything that is going wrong with the economy can be traced to the doorstep of these two gentlemen. Did the Governor of BoG, think through issues and exhausted consultations, before implementing the forex laws that has been on our books for some time now and why beat a retreat when you are convinced it is the right thing to do?
There is no money, whose responsibility is it to get us the money, it is the job of the Minister of Finance, to get contractors paid, statutory payments have not been advanced since 2013, Parliament is broke, workers in the country are paid their salaries at the end of every month, yet they go to work from Monday to Friday and have nothing to do. It is not that they do not want to work, but they do not have the tools to work with.
This Government since 2012, has won the award for been reactionary, never proactive, they wait until things go from hot to boiling, before they rush to take action or speak. They have been reminded time without number about that, yet they do not seem to care.
The President, John Dramani Mahama, has made it unequivocally clear that he is not ready to change his Minister of Finance, despite the many calls from well-meaning Ghanaians that Seth Terkper has only inflicted on them untold hardship, with the introduction of taxes that are making life unbearable.
These are Ghanaians who wish the President well, they want him to succeed and they feel and rightly so that the weakest link in his Government is Seth Terkper, but the President thinks otherwise.
For the avoidance of doubt, I have no personal reasons to antagonize the Minister finance, whom I have never met, but the position he currently occupies is one of the sensitive Ministries in the country and so his decisions affect us all.
How long can Ghanaians continue to mourn their late President, we have mourn him enough, it is about time the Government helps us to let go of him by following up on policies he upheld .