KKD writes to Akufo-Addo on latest address to the economy

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His Royal Blackness King Kwasi Kyei Darkwah, Media, Brands & Culture Experts reflected on the speech of the President last Sunday and could not sleep. Thinking of the public sentiments amidst the woes and needs of the nation, he wrote this on Monday morning. If only wishes were horses.

Fellow Ghanaians, good evening. I am here to address you on measures I am directing my government to take to help alleviate the current economic hardship. First I would like to seek your forgiveness.

1. I take full responsibility for the difficult times that our lack of greater attention to financial management, farming, and transportation for food security, and lax oversight of our lands, water bodies, and natural resources have caused. I make no excuses.

I also wish to apologize for any excuses or misinterpretations made on my behalf by any of my ministers, appointees, and eager supporters, from the Russia-Ukraine War, the Covid 19 pandemic, and use of the public purse to the size of my Government. I am sorry.

2. CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILIES OF OUR DEAR CITIZENS: Heartfelt condolences from my good wife Rebecca and I go to the mourning families of the three Ghanaians whom we recently lost in disheartening circumstances; 1. The gentleman who, in desperation, climbed up a towering high voltage electricity transmission mast in Kasoa, got electrified and fell to his death on Friday 14th, 2. the pregnant lady whose entire toilet facility with her and unborn child

sunk dangerously into a mining pit beneath their home in Konongo-Odumase last Sunday 23rd, and 3. the gentleman who was hit in the head by a bus mate and fell to the pavement to his untimely death at the La Paz Bus Terminal over a 2 Ghana cedi fare increment yesterday Saturday 29th. All very sad indeed. Our hearts go out to their families. May their souls rest in peace. Damirifa due.
I have directed my Chief of Staff Mrs Frema Opare to contact and arrange provisions for their families.

I shall visit their families to console them and also provide full Government scholarships for their children from now till completion of tertiary education or age 22 whichever comes later.

3. THE ECONOMY: Fellow Ghanaians, over the past few months, we have had

challenges with the economy, some external and some internal that has led to the depreciation of our currency’s value against the dollar. This, coupled with the nationwide desire for, and consumption of, more imports than what we produce, has led to high prices. Kindly bear with me as I put in some painful yet necessary policies and measures with the help of Parliament and the many fine minds of our nation to remedy the situation.

As of today, I have dissolved the economic management team. I shall invite and have serious discussions with renowned leaders of Ghanaian industry and other reputable minds on the economy to chart a course towards stability and prosperity. I must admit that as we seek an IMF programme, we will have to tighten our belts as the dictates mean we do not have full control of major economic decisions for the

period. I am confident that with some austerity measures and prudent financial management, our economy will bounce back soon with your support.

4. TERMINATIONS: I have thanked the Minister of Finance Mr Ken Ofori-Atta for his service and will be terminating his appointment. I have also thanked The Minister of State in charge of Finance at the Presidency Mr Charles Adu-Boahen and will be terminating his appointment, both effective tomorrow Monday 1st November. Onipa b3 y33 bi, waamb3y3 ni nyinara. On the issues of conflict of interest with regards to Ghana’s borrowing, the matter, I trust, will be settled in Parliament.

I have scheduled a meeting with some leading figures in industry and Ghana’s financial sector, past and present, first thing tomorrow morning to help reboot the economy in these challenging times. Later on Tuesday, I shall name a replacement for the Minister of Finance only as I work to reduce the size of my Governmemt.

5. POLICING MINING EQUIPMENT: I have directed the Inspector General of Police Dr George Akufo Dampare and the Minister of Lands and Narural Resources Mr Samuel Jinapor to present to me by 5pm this Friday their individual lists of every excavator in Ghana in working or non-working condition. All owners or users of excavators are required to register them immediately with the Police.
Any person found to collude with another or act on their own to conceal the full inventory will face the full rigour of the law.

6. PROTECTION OF OUR ENVIRONMENT,

ESPECIALLY OUR SOURCES OF DRINKING WATER. Ghana is the land of our ancestors that we too must safeguard and bequeath to the next generation as it was to us. Water is life. On the degradation of our environment and poisoning of our water bodies in search of gold by our people and their foreign accomplices, there is great cause for worry. For this clear and present danger, I am declaring a state of emergency. All gold-mining activities in Ghana are to cease with immediate effect. This is a grave matter of national security. I have thus charged the Chief of Army Staff Major General Thomas Oppong Peprah and the Chief of Air Staff Air Vice-Marshall Frank Hanson to launch immediate joint operations to arrest any person, I mean any person, seen prospecting, digging, extracting or washing any gold resources anywhere in

Ghana until further notice. I encourage good citizens to report any suspicious activity and/or flouting of this directive to the nearest Police Station or Local Assembly Office where a Uniformed Officer will be stationed from 8am to 5pm on week days until further notice. Our mineral resources are to be lawfully extracted for youth employment, wealth creation and national development but never at the cost of poisoning our water bodies nor destroying the health of our communities. I have directed for letters to be sent to the National House of Chiefs and a communiqué to the media to report any untoward activities to the Police or Designated Uniformed Officer at the nearest Local Assembly Office.

7. A LEAN & FIT FOR PURPOSE GOVERNMENT: In the crucial bid to reduce

state expenditure including the salaries and allowances, equipment, transport, maintenance, fuel and social bills, I am relieving all Deputy Ministers of their duties with effect from 1st December this year. After that I am reducing the size of my Government from 120 ministers to 40 from 1st January 2023. I shall work relentlessly with my Chief of Staff and Cabinet to ensure that all necessary functions and services are intact with the most efficient remaining workers using technology more effectively to serve our citizens, investors and visitors.
Tough times call for tough measures.
I am also reducing the total number of Departments and Agencies by 50 percent to cut down on staff and overheads.
A list of surviving Departments and Agencies, with some mergers as well as discontinuations, will be announced on 1st

January 2023.
I entreat you all to bear with me as we move our nation forward prudently, albeit with some painful cuts, through these tough times. All severance packages will be paid in accordance with the law and specific company guidelines to give cold comfort to those who will be affected by the necessary down-sizing.

8. PRICES: Further to my engagements with Ghana Union of Traders Association, Association of Ghana Industries, Association of Bankers, and other representative bodies and stakeholders, I have heard and heeded your voices. I have conferred with my minister of Trade and Industry Mr Alan Kyeremateng and The Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority Reverend Dr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah on

measures to help you and every Ghanaian household. I am directing that with effect from Monday 8th November, the existing covid tax element on all items be slashed.
It is a tough time and government needs to collect all we can in taxes and levies in order to pay our debts. The relief I have offered comes in addition to the existing exemption from tax on Goods for the Disabled, Educational Items & Services, Medical Supplies and Services, Pharmaceuticals, Live Animals, Transportation, Land Building and Construction, Machinery, Crude Oil and Hydrocarbon Products. Wholesalers, Distributors and Retailers, please note that failure to pass the tax reduction on to the consumer is a crime.

9: COST OF FOOD: To help reduce the cost of food, I have directed the Minister of

Agriculture Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto to arrange for vehicles to ply routes in networks from region to distant region to cart food crops from farm gates to the main markets. These will cover 100 kilometre distances or more at set rates and schedules. The cost of transportation will be borne by Goverment from now till 30th December to ensure reduction of food prices in the cities and towns far away from farm gates.

10. EX GRATIA: I shall work with our legislators to take a critical look at Ex-gratia and amend the law that grants it. As it stands, it is a constitutional provision that allows a Member of Parliament, Minister or Government appointee to receive an Ex Gratia payment at the end of a 4-year service term. The payment is a over a thousand to a million times greater

than what a teacher or a nurse will receive as pension from SSNIT at the end of over 20 years of service to the nation. This practice of ex-gratia payments to a few citizens of our land at great cost to the majority of lesser paid hard-working people in the professions and vocations needs a critical and robust change if we are to tell our people in hard times that we are all in this together. The outcry of citizens on this matter must strike a chord with all Article 71 holders past and present. Many good citizens who work as hard or even harder for Ghana live on very little and end their long-term service in poverty. The law that grants ex-gratia shall be amended to bring fairness to the people we serve. All citizens, including article 71 holders, who contribute to the SSNIT pension scheme will still receive their requisite pensions on retirement.

11. COUNCIL OF STATE: On the matter of the Council State, the Constitution which empanels them also states that the President is not obliged to take their advice. I am thus working with legislators for a constitutional review to abolish it. Savings made from there and all ex-gratia cuts will be used to help plant and cart food for jobs, and to reduce prices. My office will engage with the National House of Chiefs, Senior Government appointees and Chiefs of the forces at no extra cost on matters of governance, security and all sectors of the economy on the removal of the constitutionally-mandated Council of State.

12: EMPLOYMENT: AGE LIMITS FOR PUBLIC SERVANTS. In order to train and make a way for our teeming educated and

capable youth and experienced managers and directors, I am directing that all appointments of unelected public servants over 65 years of age shall be terminated on 1st December this year. Thank you for your service. Those who are willing and able to continue serving may run for office or start their private enterprises. After retirement from your long service to our nation, you now have time to mentor others, focus on your passion projects and play with your grandchildren.

13: GOVERNANCE & THE PUBLIC PURSE:
From tomorrow 1st November, all appointees of public companies reported by auditors and or whistle-blowers to have been on the Board when any conflict of interest and/or profligate expenditure were suffered will be prosecuted and if found guilty, be liable for a fine three-fold of the total cost to the company plus any reliefs instructed by the court.

14. REDIRECTION OF PRIORITIES: In the face of limited beds in hospitals leading to no admission for many, untimely deaths, and lack of proper care for admitted patients, I am directing that all existing funds for the Cathedral be channeled to hospitals to ensure the realisation of 2 beds per every 1000 citizens by December 2026. This is urgent, and God will be happy with us for saving the lives of the poor, needy and vulnerable. Also, all funds accruing from the downsizing of government and rental of public properties as well as fines from recalcitrant public officers and corrupt accomplices shall be invested in 2 key refineries in Ghana; one for gold and the other for oil.

15. THE RETURN OF KALABULE: The challenges we are facing as a nation have unfortunately led some traders to start an ignoble practice of profiteering known in Ghana from decades ago as Kalabule. I condemn this unreservedly. The sudden hiking of prices of your existing stocks under the guise of matching the dollar is very unfortunate and must be stopped immediately. I have spoken to the Head of GUTA and action is being taken to stamp this selfish act out. Let us be honest and fair to each other.
I have served you diligently for the past 6 years, and promise to do even better in these last two.

16: CALL TO ACTION: Fellow Ghanaians, I entreat you all young and old to bear with

me as I work to serve you. I will be back again to speak with you on Sunday. Till then I entreat you all to heed this call: Focus on family needs not wants. Let us grow what we eat and eat what we grow. Let every Ghanaian living everywhere choose Ghana-made products over any imports. When we buy made in Ghana we protect jobs in Ghana. Report any activity you see on gold mining, environmental degradation, corruption, thievery and profiteering. Every one of you can make a diiference.

It saddens me to end with the loss of a great musician and Highlife Music Legend whose funeral comes off this weekend in Tema. Even in death A B Crentsil stands tall and shines bright through his evergreen songs and thought-provoking lyrics. May his soul rest in peace, and all

his family, friends and fans, of whom I am proud to be one, find comfort in our faith.
I leave you with the Akan Proverb which has held our families, communities and nation together through good times and bad: Pray3 w) h) yi, wo yi baako a na ebuo, wo ka bo mu a enbu. Lets stand together as one, for like the many lean pieces that form the broom, united we stand, divided we fall. God bless our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.
Good night