The leadership of the Christian Community in Ghana yesterday conferred with former President, John Dramani Mahama, on various issues affecting the country’s development in areas including governance and the economy.
The meeting, held behind closed doors for about two hours, is believed to have centred on how the country could forge ahead together to address the challenges confronting the country.
It was convened at the instance of the community which included the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC), Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC).
They were represented by Most Reverend Dr Paul K Boafo, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana; Apostle Eric Nyamekye, Chairman of the Church of Pentecost; Rev. Dr Cyril Fayose; Rev Emmanuel Barrigah; Apostle Kumi Larbi; Rev. Lazarus Anondee and Apostle Aaron Ami-Narh.
In attendance from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), were its National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo; 2020 Vice Presidential Candidate; Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang and Dr Cassiel AtoForson, Ranking Member of Parliament’s Finance Committee.
Briefing journalists after the meeting held at the office of the Former President, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said former President Mahama expressed his readiness to contribute to the resolution of the economic challenges.
“Former President John Mahama and his side have given very clear indication that we will put the nation ahead of our personal and parochial partisan interest and are prepared.
“If there is any dialogue that encapsulates a whole plan towards addressing the economic challenges that we are facing, he is prepared to offer his bit in the interest of mother Ghana,” he said.
While setting the record straight the proposed Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy) was not the main focus of the meeting, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said former President Mahama made it clear that the e-levy was just the symptom of a bigger challenge that the nation was facing at the economic front.
“For that matter if there is any attempt by the government to come out with a comprehensive plan to come out with the hydra-headed challenges that we are facing in the economy, we in the NDC side are prepared to put in our bit to address it,” he said.
According to the NDC national chairman, the opposition of the party and the minority in parliament to the controversial levy remained the same.
For his part, Dr Forson said aside from the e-levy, the issues in the cocoa sector were worrying given that COCOBOD was unable to purchase even 42 per cent of what it bought around the same time last year despite parliamentary approval of funds for the purpose.
“Figures from the Ghana Cocoa Board suggest that they have bought, so far, 408,000 metric tonnes of cocoa as against almost 600,000 metric tonnes bought the same period last year,” he said.
According to Dr Forson farmers were ready to sell their cocoa but the cocoa buyers did not have the money to buy and supply to the state while there had been an upsurge in cocoa loans from GH₵12 billion from GH₵1 billion they inherited.
“The economy of Ghana is sick and we need to come together to help solve it. It is not one party’s problem that all of us have to come to solve it,” he said.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR