Following the trending hashtags #FixTheCountry and #FixTheCountryNow, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta met with members of the press at the conference room of the Ministry of Finance in Accra on Sunday May 9.
This coincided with the 20th Anniversary of the May 9th, Accra Sports Stadium Disaster and Mother’s Day.
During the press conference, the Finance Minister called on a minute silence for the lives lost during the disaster.
“Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the 9th May Accra sports stadium disaster. So we shall observe a minute silence. May the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace. And may the families left behind remain comforted in the Lord. Thank you for welcoming us to your homes this Sunday and, the motherly day of all days, to discuss building our Nation,” the Finance Minister said.
Acknowledging the trending hashtag, the Minister called for a collaborative effort “to solve the problems that face this country”.
“I acknowledge that these are challenging times for many of us, and we, like almost all the countries in the world, are living through rough weather. A time that has put a burden on the necessities of lives and livelihoods never like before in recent history. Unfortunately, these external shocks have heightened Ghana’s perennial problems, which we are committed to addressing,” the Minister of Finance said.
“In extraordinary times, you should expect exceptional leadership from your Government. I truly believe we cannot ensure exceptional leadership without a collective effort. So, I commend the Youth for calling on Government and leaders to be at their best. This shows the patriotism of the Ghanaian Youth, echoing the President’s call to Be a Citizen, Not a Spectator. You have elected us to solve the problems that face this country. We will continue to work with you and other stakeholders to do just that,” he further said.
According to the Finance Minister, in the coming days, the government “will move swiftly to address some of the issues that the #Fixtheeconomy have raised.” To address the issues, the Finance Minister outlined the following steps.
- “First, I am working with the Minister for Water and Sanitation to immediately ensure potable water to areas with felt need, especially in the most urban areas,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.
- “Second, I am working with the Ministers of Roads and Highways, Transport and Interior to address congestion along the major highways.
- “Third, we are fast-tracking the implementation of the US$200million Jobs and Skills Programme to enhance job creation significantly. This intervention is designed to facilitate new and expanded private sector businesses to employ a lot more people. This we believe is a more sustainable way to rebuild this economy instead of expanding Government employment schemes”.
- “Fourth, starting this month, we are rolling over 8 additional interventions under the GhanaCARES “Obataanpa” programme. These will be in the Health, Agriculture, Tourism, Trade, Digitization, Science and technology, Housing and financial services.
- “Fifth, by the end of July, we will have a new Development Bank that will provide long-term wholesale financing to the private sector through Commercial banks.”
Background of #FixTheCountry Campaign
The trending #FixTheCountry is said to have been started by popular Ghanaian Twitter influencer, KalyJay in response to concerns raised by the youth. These concerns include the rise in fuel price, water shortages, high youth unemployment, Galamsey, traffic congestion on major highways, systems among others.
Political activist and celebrities like Sarkodie have joined the trending hashtag campaign which has been at the top of Twitter trends over the past week.
The conveners of the trending hashtag planned to gather supporters for a demonstration at the Black Star Square in Accra on May 9, 2021. Plans were foiled after the Ghana Police Service secured an injunction against the demonstration. The conveners are however at the Supreme Court challenging the injunction with the hearing scheduled for June 8, 2021.
Meanwhile, another section of Ghanaians is opposing the hashtag with #NANAISFIXINGIT which has garnered over five thousand tweets. The # NANAISFIXINGIT is in support of the Akufo Addo government’s progress on the economy.