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Consider Senchi-type forum to address Cedi depreciation

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Mahama to Nana Addo: Consider Senchi-type forum to address Cedi depreciation
The Mahama administration held a stake holder forum on the economy in 2014

Former President John Mahama has urged the Akufo-Addo administration to hold a stakeholder forum on the economy in the wake of the cedi’s struggles.

Recalling his administration’s three-day Senchi Economic Forum in 2014, which the now-governing New Patriotic Party boycotted, Mr. Mahama said the current government was “probably at such a decision point.”

The cedi has depreciated against the dollar from GHc 4.9 to over GHc 5.5 since the turn of the year.

President Akufo-Addo has admitted that this has left him “extremely upset and anxious”.

The government is currently also eyeing funds from COCOBOD and the launch of the $3 billion Eurobond to stabilise the currency.

In a message on Facebook, the former president said: “the recent free fall of the cedi against all major foreign currencies, may be exposing a deeper malaise in the ‘fundamentals of the economy’.”

“It may serve Akufo-Addo/Bawumia and their economic team well to own up to their shortcomings and call a Senchi type stakeholder forum on the economy.”

Mr. Mahama held that such a move will bolster the government’s credibility when it creates “a consultative process that forges a consensus and allows a nation to move forward.”

National Economic Forum at Senchi in 2014 ended with a 22-point resolution.

Among other things, stakeholders agreed that the Directive Principles of State Policy must continue to guide the national development effort, that long term national interest should supersede all other interests and that the State must encourage indigenous entrepreneurship.

The participants also proposed the amendment of the Bank of Ghana Act to set a ceiling on its lending to the government.

The forum brought together a wide range of stakeholders to promote dialogue to help develop a national consensus on some economic policy issues.

Following the forum, an Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) at the National Development Planning Commission was inaugurated with the responsibility of guiding the implementation of the recommendations of the Forum.

Find below Mr. Mahama’s message

There is a much-hackneyed saying, “two heads are better than one”.

There are times when a leader or a party must admit that they do not have all the answers to the challenges facing the economy or a particular sector. At such times, it does not take away from your dignity, but adds to your credibility, when you create a consultative process that forges a consensus and allows a nation to move forward.

I faced one such decision point as President in 2014. The 3-day Senchi Economic Forum was held in May 2014.

It was a broad consultative process and even though it was boycotted by the opposition NPP, it achieved its objective of producing the famous Senchi Report which contributed to the Homegrown Fiscal Consolidation Programme.

This Homegrown Fiscal Programme led eventually to the ECF with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and resulted in one of the most stable periods in Ghana’s economic history in 2016, with the cedi being one of the best performing African currencies.

This administration is probably at such a decision point. The recent free fall of the cedi against all major foreign currencies may be exposing a deeper malaise in the “fundamentals of the economy”.

It may serve Akufo-Addo/Bawumia and their economic team well to own up to their shortcomings and call a Senchi type stakeholder forum on the economy.

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa | citinewsroom.com | Ghana





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