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21.10.2008 Politics

Tackling challenges of the global crisis we need proactive leadership Akufo-Addo declares, sets up expert panel

By The Statesman

Nana  Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, yesterday stated that Ghana needs re-assurance of proactive leadership in these critical times of global financial crisis that has thrown the world most powerful economies out of gear.

The gravity of the global financial crisis, according to the Presidential Candidate, reinforces the need for Ghanaians not to gamble the nation's future away, but rather remain faithful to the credibility and good sense that had seen the country on the steady road to future prosperity.

Nana Akufo-Addo was addressing a press conference on the Word Financial Crisis at the NPP Club House in Accra. Present were Mahamudu Bawumia, his running mate, Alan Kyerematen, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Felix Owusu Agyepong, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, and Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, all former presidential aspirants and leading members of the party"s Campaign team.

"I will remind the nation that at the height of the world food and fuel price hikes, the NDC Minority Party stated that we could have done better by engaging in hedging on the petroleum market.

Today, the world knows that it is the irresponsible indulgence in hedging and speculation that have combined to bring the entire world economy to its knees. Ghana cannot risk entrusting its economy to those who will gamble with the future,' he stated.

In the view of the NPP Presidential Candidate, the governing party had established a solid track record in the management of the nation's economy, moving it from HIPC status to a frontier of emerging market country that had issued a sovereign bond on the international capital markets.

'The strong economic fundamentals established have ensured the resilience of the economy in the face of a major oil price shock up to $147 per barrel in 2007/8, which stands in stark contrast to how the economy virtually collapsed after a small oil price hike ($36 per barrel) in 1999/2000,' he explained to the media.

Nana Akufo-Addo admitted that although a number of positive, thoughtful interventions by the incumbent government had helped to weather the storm in Ghana better than most other African countries, 'there can be little doubt that these external problems may well put some damper on our outstanding achievements.

The upsurge of this new and more ferocious crisis at a time when we are managing to cope with the effects of the food and fuel price increases must, therefore, give real cause for concern.'

According to the Presidential Candidate, even though assurances had been given that the economy of Ghana, just like other African nations, would not suffer the same effect as those of the developed economies, as well as those of emerging markets more closely entwined in the global economic system, 'we should derive scant comfort from the conventional wisdom; for, although we are unlikely to see our banks endangered by the effects of reckless lending and horrendous speculation, there may be many ways in which the ripple effects of the crisis will be felt from next year.'

The possible effects, as catalogued by the man widely seen as the  most likely successor of President Kufuor, include decline in foreign remittances, arising from threats to jobs and housing, decline in trade, resulting from possible recession in the economies of United States, United Kingdom, Germany and the rest of the developed economies, decline in the prices of Ghanaian commodities on the international market, and difficulty in securing investment capital at a time when the nation's development needs are greatest.

Nana Akufo-Addo added: 'Against this background, I consider it imperative that anyone seeking the mandate of the people should be fully alive to the challenges emerging from this unprecedented crisis and be equipped with a combination of ideas and the appropriate contacts capable of responding positively and effectively to those challenges.'

The Presidential Candidate announced that he had initiated contacts with some key players on the Ghanaian landscape, including those with commitment on the radar, for the purpose of reassuring the nation about the prospects for the future.

'I do this in recognition of the fact that, more often than not, confidence is going to be a decisive factor for investment decisions going forward for countries like ours.

The world will be looking for leadership that is not only in tune with the challenges of the moment, but also has the credibility and experience to deliver,' he added.

Nana Akufo-Addo is also bringing together an Expert Panel to carry out three assignments: first, to maintain liaison with the Stock Exchange, the Financial Services and other institutions representing the business community to monitor the emerging challenges; secondly, to review as wide a range of policy options as may be appropriate for consideration in the coming years; and lastly, to fashion an appropriate input in the inevitable dialogue on the world economic system in the aftermath of the crisis.