‘Govt policies should drive citizens’ participation in devt processes’

Nyaaba Aweebo Azongo, a development planner has urged the government to initiate policies that should drive citizens’ participation in development processes.

That, he explained, would enable the government to take immediate steps to build a national consensus towards building a robust economy and develop homegrown solution to socioeconomic challenges.

“Without broader stakeholder consensus, the government’s interventions will only be as little drops of water in a mighty ocean of development crisis if it does not include massive expenditure cuts in the short term,” Mr Azongo noted.

Speaking in reaction to the president’s address on the current state of the economy, he said the measures announced would not fully address the critical situation because he did not devote to building of common development consensus as path for the country after massive cut in waste and size of government, ban foreign travels and only for extreme circumstances and realigning.

Mr Azongo was hopeful that would be given urgent attention including sweeping measures to curb rising cost of living, especially fuel, services and food to boost faltering economic growth.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a televised address on the economy, outlined with optimism raft of new measures, which will break the pace of current economic downturn.

The actions include improvement in revenue collection from current tax revenue to Gross Domestic Product ratio of 13 per cent to between18 per cent to 20 per cent, review reforms in energy sector, capping of statutory funds, implementation of exemptions Act and new property rate regime.

He said the government would also continue with the policy of 30 per cent cut in the salaries of political office holders, including the President, Vice President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, and State-owned Enterprises appointees in 2023, as well as 30 per cent cut in discretionary expenditures of ministries, departments and agencies.

The plan also targets reduction of total public debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio to 55 per cent by 2028, with servicing of external debt pegged at not more than 18 per cent of annual revenue also by 2028.

It will also prioritise imports, and review management of foreign exchange reserves in relation to imports of products such as rice, poultry, vegetable oil, toothpicks, pasta, fruit juice, bottled water and ceramic tiles, and others.

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