Feature Article of Thursday, 18 October 2012
Columnist: Kyeremeh, Yaw
The next government of Ghana will need to deliver on large infrastructure projects to help the economy transform quickly.
The slump in infrastructure investment is a dramatic example of how the failure of the NDC government’s plan is not only currently causing hardship and insecurity but is also doing permanent damage to Ghana’s longer - term economic potential. This obviously undermines our ability in the future to cope, never mind competing and paying our way as a middle-income economy. We will have to pay the price for this for decades to come if we don’t take immediate steps, as a matter of urgency, to reverse the current government’s use of propaganda to window-dress our inefficiencies.
What we urgently need, as soon as the NPP takes over government business, is to get big infrastructure projects going on and to give the most needed certainty and stability to investors, both local and foreign. There is a better way forward with the NPP’s plan “to move Ghana decisively forward” with a “leadership and the vision to make this country great” and “for building a society of peace, opportunity and prosperity” as against the NDC’s “poor policies and failed leadership, which have failed Ghana [through] years of corruption, lies, deceit and propaganda and broken promises”.
The NPP’s plans would bring forward long-term infrastructure projects to help create jobs and provide a clear direction that investors can follow and plan for. I suggest that the NPP’s plan should include windfall taxes for banks and mobile phone companies, for example, to raise billions of cedis to fund the construction of school infrastructure, affordable homes, credible and reliable utility services in the major cities and towns, to start with, as well as complete and undertake major roads and other building construction projects all over the country.
The incoming NPP government will give investors confidence to invest for the long term because we believe an active government approach is required which will include support for the key sectors of the economy. These are measures that, we believe, will certainly provide help now in order to forge ahead with a stronger, more resilient and diverse economy.
I will suggest that the next NPP should recognise and believe that an improved long term infrastructure must be a shared endeavour of all parties as long term projects do not fit neatly within political cycles of four years. They are just long term enterprises in the long-term interest of the country. Such projects are damaged by chopping and changing and uncertainty as experienced under the out-going NDC government which undertook a wholesale termination of contracts that the previous NPP government had initiated. For the NPP the challenge in this cross-party move will be to champion the move for all politicians to understand this and build it into policy-making. The current NDC government even in this late and dying stage, maybe too late, can adopt the more collaborative approach. This is because we would always need to reach consensus on the long-term improvements which must be delivered and do what many other major developed countries are getting right in pursuing collaborative policy-making for their long-term interest.
Long live Ghana. May our future as a nation be brighter and sustainable!
Yaw Kyeremeh London.