Representatives from two opposition parties have described government’s mitigation policy in the current high cost of living brought on by high crude oil prices on the world market as a move for economic expediency.

The representatives from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) said government’s announcement of a relief rather provides fodder for suspicion.

Prices of crude oil and other commodities have been on the upward spiral and in the wake of this trend of affairs has been the increasing cost of living in the country. Crude oil currently sells at $130 per barrel.

Following this the President John Agyekum Kufuor is on Thursday expected to announce a $1bn subsidy package to temporarily reduce the country’s economic hardships.

But speaking to Joy Fm’s Kojo Oppong Nkrumah on Wednesday, a leading member of the NDC, Mr Kwamena Ahwoi, said government’s intervention policy may be coming too late now, describing the response as a panic reaction.

He said it would have cost government less if it had started hedging against the increases on the world market earlier, adding, the economy would now be “hedging at a higher level.”

“Even if anybody is going to help you to hedge at all, its gone; we have allowed the boat to pass,” he stated.

Mr Ahwoi proposed investing the facility in Agriculture, a measure he believes could churn out a better long term benefit for the economy.

The CPP’s spokesperson on Agriculture, Dr Abu Sakara said he hopes the package would adequately address the concerns of the citizenry.

He said with the prices of rice and fish imports already coming down lately, it would make little economic sense to cut taxes on them.

Both Mr Ahwoi and Dr Sakara said the relief is intended to make the ruling party popular in an election year.

In an interview with Joy News however, Deputy Information Minister, Mr Frank Agyekum condemned speculations that government has political motive, stressing that the package is in line with global trends.

“Managing the economy of a nation is all a matter of strategy, timing and what you do at what time. We have thought at this time, as a government, to come in and see what we can do for our people,” he added.

Tax cuts on rice, fish imports, petroleum, maize and other commodities are expected to be at the centre of government’s intervention decision to be announced on Thursday.

Story by Fiifi Koomson

Tags: