5 July 2012

Ghana: Reducing the Cost of Living


The cost of living is jumping way beyond the means of most Ghanaians, and something ought to be done, and pretty soon. In many homes across the country, Ghanaians are living on the edge. It cannot be by accident that murders and suicides are threatening the normal co-existence of our people.

Housewives are at their wits end trying to make the housekeeping money go round. There are several homes in this country where a single meal is proving elusive. It is that bad!

When President John Evans Atta Mills took the presidential convoy to the Mallam Atta, Nima and Maamobi markets, all in Accra, to buy four balls of kenkey, the exercise was spiced with party propaganda.

The substance of the issue that sent the Head of State to those markets was that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture commissioned a report on the cost of food items, particularly maize, following reports that the cost of cereals was going though the roof.

It was the report that established that in parts of Accra like Osu, Abeka Lapaz and Nungua, and some parts of Tema, a ball of kenkey was being sold for GH¢1. Instead of checking from the places mentioned in the report, the President took his entourage to the Nima, Maamobi and Mallam Atta markets, where the Head of State bought four balls of kenkey at Gp50 each.

Even at Gp50, a family of four would need more than the average head of the household's wages for a single meal. It is certainly not the most efficient means of promoting a Better Ghana, when the average person cannot afford a single meal for the family.

It is not only food items that are experiencing steep rises in prices, every aspect of life in this country is getting too expensive for the citizenry. House rents are ballooning. In most cases, rents are linked to the United States dollar, and with the cedi falling against the major currencies, rents are going through the roof.

The average Ghanaian is choking under the austerity that is driving most people mad. That is why The Chronicle is inviting the administration of President John Evans Atta Mils to do something about the cost of living.

Not many Ghanaians are impressed with the roof-top advertisements of a Better Ghana, translating into the most extreme of hardships ever experienced in this country.

'Truth and politics', to quote Hannah Arendt, an American political commentator, "are on rather bad terms with each other. No one, as far as I know, has ever counted truth among political virtues.

"Seen from the viewpoint of politics, truth has a despotic character. It is, therefore, hated by tyrants, and enjoys a rather precarious relationship with governments that rest on consent and abhor coercion."

Even then, The Chronicle would caution against the mirage that is being made to represent pools of water to satisfy the thirst of the ordinary Ghanaian. It is easy to build castles in the air. Actually putting these castles on the ground is the most difficult part.

The Chronicle would like to implore this administration to move beyond the propaganda, and put concrete measures down to bail Ghanaians out of the mess they have created for everybody. Ghanaians are suffering. Let this administration appreciate that, and do something about it.

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