Prof. Gyampo writes: An open letter to President Akufo Addo on current hard times

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Your Excellency,

I greet you. It is clear that times are hard and many Ghanaians never imagined that these will happen in your regime. You gave all of us a lot of hope in the lead up to the 2016 General Elections and to be fair, you cannot be accused for not doing anything since your election. The challenge however is that, apart from Free SHS, your appointees and communicators have been super-incompetent in touting your achievements in a manner that ingrains them in the psyche of the people, thereby creating the impression that not much has been done. But this may be discussed in detail in another candid letter to you another time.

For now, my focus is on the hard times in which we find ourselves. There may be several legitimate explanations accounting for the current tough times. But as the Hobbesian account of the generation of the Leviathan show, the essence of instituting a government, is not to explain, but to solve problems, so we do not relapse into the State of Nature. I have heard many of your appointees trying to offer credible explanations behind the scenes, about why we are where we are now. But with respect, Sir, we never gave a mandate for a second term for problem explanations that are inconsequential to dealing with the tangible challenges we are all experiencing now.
If something can be done, it must be done now. If nothing can be done, Ghanaians must be in the know, so they can resign themselves to fate. But I honestly believe there are a couple of things that you can do to show leadership, whip up patriotism and elicit support from the citizenry in helping you to navigate all of us from the current challenges we face as a people.
I humbly make the following suggestions for your consideration:
1. Reduce the size of your government now, by realigning some functionally duplicative ministries and dropping some ministers. Some proposals can be made to this effect, but a government that wants to lead by example in these hard times, should know the ministries that are a complete waste and drain on our limited resources and either realign or scrap them.
2. If necessary, please reduce your own salary and that of your remaining appointees by 30 percent, and reduce or completely suspend the payment of all the allowances and per diems that are given to people who already earn huge salaries (even when reduced by 30 percent).
3. Apart from the Presidency, please reduce or completely withdraw the fuel coupons that grant free fuel to all appointees, friends and family members, so all will buy fuel and be frugal with the little they have.
4. Park all the V8 Vehicles, auction some, and let the remaining be used only when appointees are traveling out of the city centers to the remote hinterlands where the real use of these vehicles may be needed. Let these appointees drive their salon vehicles to work. Let us supplant the view that, poor people are extravagant.
5. Let all appointees stay and work here in Ghana. If they have to travel, let them fly with economy class tickets. Your recent flight with a commercial airline to Dubai is commendable and must be emulated.
6. Reinstate the hurriedly scrapped toll booths and let them begin to collect road tolls, adjusted a little from 50 pesewas to 1 cedi for salon vehicles, and from 1 cedi to 2 cedis for big engines.
7. Scrap some of the “nuisance taxes” on petroleum products to cushion Ghanaians.
8. The 2020 Auditor-General Report suggested that we lost 12.8 billion cedis due to infractions and other irregularities committed by statutory institutions. Please quickly institute measures to ensure we don’t continue to fetch water with basket, even in these hard times.
9. Finally, sir, I know you believe in loyalty and you trust those in whom you repose much confidence. But I think you must consider the possibility of reshuffling the managers of our finances and the economy, just for the purposes of tapping into fresh ideas and renewed energies in helping you to sail us through the storms currently hitting us. I believe you still have the men to help, else, please look outside your party, for we are all sinking in a common boat and where necessary, other Ghanaians must be brought on board for the rescue.
Your Excellency, I am of the firm belief and conviction that, these measures will help you garner the needed support from the citizenry in these difficult times, offer some solutions, and make the call for belts to be tightened, receptive and not repulsive. Thank you Sir.

Yaw Gyampo

A31, Prabiw

P.A.V. Ansah Street

Saltpond

&

Suro Nipa House

Kubease

Larteh-Akuapim

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