Economic recovery: Policies must not exacerbate existing struggles; take decisions with empathy – Sam Jonah  

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Dr Sir Sam Esson Jonah, Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), has cautioned against draconian measures and policies in the country’s quest to revive the economy.

“It is crucial that we take decisions with empathy and keen understanding of the impact of our action on the lives of our citizens.

“Our policies must not go to exacerbate the existing struggles our citizens are facing,” he said.

Sir Jonah gave the caution when he addressed the fifth session of the 55th congregation of UCC on Saturday during which 1,430 students from the School of Graduate Studies graduated.

They were awarded various Doctor of Philosophy and Master’s degrees, as well as Postgraduate in Diploma and Postgraduate certificates.

Among the graduating class was the India High Commissioner to Ghana, Sugandh Rajaram, who graduated as a Master of Philosophy in Geography and Regional Planning.

In all, the school graduated 6,664 students from the first session held on Thursday to the fifth session.

Sir Jonah observed that the “unprecedented” hard times facing the country had fostered “hopelessness and helplessness” particularly among the youth, a development which could undermine security and stability.

The situation, therefore, called for, “a very healthy dose of humility” in decision making as the country navigated the difficult path of economic restructuring, he implored.

Ghana’s economy is saddled with inflation, high interest rate, a volatile currency, debt distress among other economic challenges, a situation worsened by geopolitical interests.

Recent frantic efforts by government to rescue the economy has resulted in several unpopular measures including the Domestic Debt Exchange programme and the introduction of some new taxes.

These measures, coupled with a request for debt forgiveness from China, government says are to enable it secure a $3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to save the economy from total collapse.

Lamenting the situation, Sir Jonah said there was the need for all to work with unity, resilience and determination while making a lot of sacrifices to save the economy.

He urged the government and policymakers to listen more and speak less to enable them make sound and informed decisions with minimal consequences on citizens.

He said they must work collectively to create the opportunities for the youth to guarantee a promising and prosperous future for them.

“We must listen to their voices and consider their perspectives as we develop policies and strategies for the betterment our nation.

“Indeed, we must engage with them, learn from their experiences and we must work together to create an environment where everyone can thrive,” he urged.

For the graduands, Sir Jonah challenged them to see the difficult times as an opportunity for growth, innovation and change by deploying the skills they had acquired in UCC.

He also encouraged them to use their knowledge and skills to make a difference in their lives and in their societies.

“In life, success in any endeavour is a product of hard work, commitment, dedication, discipline, and the right attitude.

“It is during the most trying times in history that true leaders emerged and your education has provided you with the tools to become such leaders,” he encouraged.

Prof Johnson Nyarko Boampong, the Vice Chancellor of UCC, reiterated the infrastructural challenges, particularly with students’ accommodation, affecting the school.

He said the school was working to mitigate the situation and called on private investors to invest in students’ residential facilities on campus.

He announced that UCC had planted economic trees on 110 acres of its lands to maintain the green nature of the campus, which had been further enhanced with major road improvements.

The Vice Chancellor once again bemoaned the appropriation of the university’s lands by encroachers and expressed the school’s determination to preserve the lands.

Highlighting some achievements of the School of Graduate Studies, Prof Boampong noted a continuous increase in the number of students despite competition from other institutions.

He acknowledged that the increase required continuous adoption of new strategies to deepen its teaching, learning and research which he said was on course.

The VC assured that the school would introduce policies that would ensure high quality postgraduate programmes relevant to socio-economic development.

“We shall continue strive to deepen postgraduate training and promote teaching and learning, research, creativity and innovation,” he added.


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