Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has called for urgent measures to insulate the country against the financial crisis that has hit the developed world.
He said because the developed world would be meeting as a body on the crisis, Ghana must also position itself so that it would not be overtaken by events after such a dialogue.
Nana Akufo-Addo was addressing the press in Accra yesterday on the financial crisis that has hit countries such as the USA, the UK and Canada, its impact on Ghana and how the nation should prepare to absorb the shocks.
As a first move, he said he was empanelling financial and economic experts to liaise with the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), financial service providers and other institutions representing the business community to monitor the crisis and offer solutions.
The experts, according to him, would also review a wide range of policy options as might be appropriate to help position the country to maintain economic stability during and after the crisis.
According to the NPP flag bearer, he epitomised the proactive leader who was fully aware of and prepared to offer solutions to the current world financial crisis because “we cannot sit down and wait to be overwhelmed by problems.
Rather, we need to be proactive in anticipating and responding appropriately and in due time to challenges as they loom on the horizon”.
Nana Akufo-Addo said although the current NPP administration had managed the economy to be able to weather the storm better than most African countries, something extra would be needed beyond 2008 in addressing the challenges.
He said it was for that reason that he had suggested the moves.
He noted that because of the inability of institutions in the developed world to protect their economies from the shocks, the developed countries were bound to hold dialogue to explore new ideas for a brave new economic order, for which reason the developing world must make its voice heard and its concerns taken care of at such fora.
He said the NPP was committed to improving access to affordable housing for most Ghanaians, saying that banks in Ghana had, in recent times, increasingly been making mortgage loans an essential part of their portfolios.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the challenges emanating from the recklessness on the global mortgage market should be a great lesson for the Ghanaian mortgage sector, adding, “We should, thus, be determined to build in Ghana the kind of responsible credit culture that can also secure our necessary push from the Third World to the First World.”
He said the strong economic fundamentals established by the NPP administration had made the country withstand the major oil price hikes of up to $147 per barrel, which was in sharp contrast with how the economy virtually collapsed after a minor oil price hike of $36 per barrel in 1999 and 2000.
He said it was the irresponsible indulgence in hedging and speculation that had culminated in the current global financial crisis and reminded Ghanaians of how the National Democratic Congress (NDC) wanted Ghana to also indulge in such reckless hedging at the height of the world food and fuel price hikes.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the global financial crisis would definitely reduce remittances from our compatriots abroad, which had become a lifeline to many Ghanaians and their relatives, as well as the regeneration and development of towns and cities in the country.
He added that the world financial problem had brought to the fore the need for the country to wean itself from over- reliance on foreign support for its budget because most of those countries that supported Ghana were facing serious financial problems.
He said it was unacceptable for a country like Ghana that had attained 50 years of nationhood to continually rely on the magnanimity of the hard-earned taxes of people of other nations to support its budget, hence the decision by the NPP to reduce such over-reliance.
Nana Akufo-Addo said Africa and the West African sub-region could not afford to be bystanders and mere observers of history and that it was important that the ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) took upon themselves the immediate and daunting task of co-ordinating Africa's collective response in defence of the interest of the African people.
Story by Donald Ato Dapatem & MacLiberty Misrowoda