The presidential candidate of the Convention People's Party (CPP) in the 2008 elections Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, has called on President John Evans Atta Mills to develop a broad national consensus to save the domestic economy.
He said at this crucial time when the world was faced with phenomenal economic decline, President Mills must come up with clear concrete steps to inject confidence in the Ghanaian economic system.
Sharing his thoughts on the global economic difficulties and their impact on the local economy, Dr Nduom said, "This is not the time to stick to conservative, macroeconomic stabilisation policies that aim at protecting the economy against the people. This is the time to align economic policy to the interest of the people so that jobs are protected and the standard of living is not eroded."
He said it was time to put politics aside and fix the economy so that "we have a continuous and sustainable policy of lifting majority of the people into prosperity".
He said Ghana presently faced a severe crisis of lack of confidence in the economic system, which required the Mills administration to lead the way and come up with a people-centred economic stimulus package that would not only inject confidence in the people but also invoke the principle of self-determination to arrest the trend.
He said Americans were throwing the free market system aside and adopting government intervention methods to save their domestic economy.
"What is happening in America and Europe in particular tells us that no government can stand by and be a spectator when the livelihood and viability of a country and the prosperity of the people are threatened." he stated.
He said this year was going to be very challenging for which reason the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had no right to hijack the situation by just continuing with the blame game on the economy when there were challenges to be overcome.
He said both the NDC and the NPP had been in power before and that what the country was experiencing was not new in our Fourth Republic saying. "We went through similar economic challenges from 1999 to 2002."
He said today, inflation was inching dangerously close to 19 per cent, the Bank of Ghana's prime rate had gone up to 19.5 per cent while the dollar was being bought for between GH¢ 1.50 and GH¢I.60.
"The cumulative effect of this is that money is scarce and when it is made available it is becoming very expensive. Some businesses have stal1ed going back to the old practice of tying prices to the US dollar, a clear indication that our system is going to become a very difficult one indeed by the end of the year,"' he stated.
He said it was worrying that after 52 years of nationhood Ghana was still an exporter of raw materials and practicing the same old economic paradigm which was leading it nowhere.
He said there was no reason for the country to find itself where it was today, saying, "If we have severe economic crises and the nation fails to overcome them, then the very democracy Ghana has been touted for is even under threat."'
Ghana needed an agreement among the political leadership to chart the economic direction of the country. That would guarantee consistency of economic development he stated.
He said a summit between the government, the political leadership, as well as financial institutions, to look at how to reduce the borrowing rate, job creation, check unbridled importation of goods, broaden the tax base, among other issues, would go a long way to grow the Ghanaian economy.