Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., has called on government to ensure that exploitation of the country’s natural resources inure to the benefits of Ghanaians.
Outspoken Kwesi Pratt reacting in a panel discussion programme on Radio Gold on Saturday, bemoaned the bizarre treatment meted out by investors and mining companies to the citizenry.
According to him, though the economy is rich in minerals, the nation comes to naught in deriving revenues from the mining sector.
“We’re running an economy in which all our basic needs and requirements are being imported to the extent that we are importing handkerchiefs, to the extent that we are importing toothpicks, to the extent that we are now even importing water…how do you then increase national revenue to such an extent that you can take care of your public sector workers and so on?”
He bemoaned Ghana’s inability to exploit its natural resources to the benefits of Ghanaians and therefore hoped government would intervene to ensure that the citizens profit from the country’s internal resources.
He said that the state of the economy “is not a human resource problem. It is bigger than that; this is at the heart of the political economy of Ghana. This is about how to manage our resources. This is about our employment policy. This is about our natural resources, what do we do with them and so on?”
He alluded to the privatization of Ghana Telecom where 70% of shares was offloaded to VODAFONE under the Kufour administration. This he said created a major problem for the nation.
The Mobile Telecommunications sector, he emphasized, is a huge revenue generating sector, but the involvement of Ghanaians is negligible since the Telecommunications authorities tend to use them only for their gains.
He appealed to the Mahama-led government to adopt measures to salvage the economy but warned that any attempt to either cut down on salaries or lay off workers to make up for the lapses would be a “reckless path” to ply.
Expounding further, he noted that public sector workers should not be blamed for government’s inefficiencies.
Speaking in relation to President Mahama’s speech before Parliament on Thursday, February 21 where he outlined his vision for the nation and pledged his government’s commitment to cut down on public expenditure, Kwesi Pratt took the President’s promise with a pinch of salt proposing that government should rather focus on reforming the tax net to reap huge revenues to enhance productivity.
He also called on government to create an effective transportation system to ease the pressure workers go through before reaching their destinations from their various workplaces, blurting out that ““workers are not slaves. We cannot be slave-driving in 2013. It’s important that we understand that we cannot be slave-driving now…”
He advised the Mahama-led NDC government to “display a certain level of modesty. The leadership must inspire” the citizens in order to collectively work to fortify the economy.
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