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Owusu Bempah blames increased cost of kenkey on Russia-Ukraine war

A Convener of the pro-New Patriotic Party activist group, #FixingTheCountry Ghana has argued that the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cannot in any way be blamed for the increased price of kenkey.

Over the last few months, Ghanaians have witnessed a significant increment in the cost of basic goods and services including food items.

Asked by the host of Egyaso Gyaso on Okay FM, Afia Pokua, whether the government can be blamed for the rise in the cost of economic conditions including the cost of kenkey, Owusu Bempah vehemently argued to the contrary.

He drew a correlation between the cost of kenkey which is made out of corn and the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces.

According to him, the war has led to a shortage in the supply of fertilizer for the planting of maize in Ghana causing a rise in the cost of maize. This, he argued, has consequently affected the price of kenkey.

“You are a journalist and so if you ask those questions, you have to ask the circumstances within which the world is situated… We need fertilizer to grow corn and we don’t manufacture the fertilizer in Ghana, we import it. So if you wake up one day and everything has come to a halt with borders closed, the first cardinal principle to know is that global circumstances have changed.

“Majority of our economy relies on the importation of goods and services, right or wrong? Therefore, you have to know that things will change. Secondly, we know that globally crude oil which we import is from Russia and Ukraine. Because of the war going on in Ukraine, if anyone says we can’t argue that the break in supply and the resulting increase in oil prices has no effect, I don’t agree,” he argued.

“We import about 60% of our crude oil from Ukraine and Russia so if the prices have increased, obviously, that should tell you something. How much oil do we produce in Ghana? We have to import, and when we do that, there are heavy taxes imposed on it which will go on to affect everything. So if kenkey used to be GHC1 and it is now GHC5, why should you be worried?” he questioned.

Owusu Bempah emphasized that it has become incumbent for people to appreciate the state of the global economy and its effect on the Ghanaian economy instead of blaming the government for the rise in the cost of living.

“Did Akufo-Addo bring the war? Did Akufo-Addo bring the Corona? Don’t you know that Ukraine is the food basket of the world? Go and do your research. Even when the Iraq and Iran war started in the early 90s, the minute even the global economists hear there is a war, you know it automatically affects everything in the world. You don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you this,” he blurted out.

Meanwhile, an old video of President Akufo-Addo during his campaign days as an opposition leader has gone viral in the wake of the current economic hardship.

In the video, the then opposition candidate chastised the government of the day for incompetence blaming them for the cost of kenkey which was then selling for one cedi.

“You said you were coming to reduce prices because you came for the poor. But it is under your tenure that poor people are suffering the most. That is what we are now seeing in the price of kenkey costing GHC1,” Nana Addo chastised the then National Democratic Congress government.

Kenkey now sells between GHC1.5 and GHC3 depending on the size.

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