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General News of Sunday, 7 August 2022

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Operation Feed Yourself and Ghana Beyond Aid: Why Nduom believes both are connected

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is the president of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is the president of Ghana

He may not have been as popular in the political space lately as he used to be in times past, but the founder of the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) and businessman, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom’s words still resonate profoundly among Ghanaians.

In a recent open letter to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the former presidential aspirant drew the attention of the president to a number of things he believes, if applied, could totally change the economic fortunes of the country.

In his 11-pointer list of things Akufo-Addo can do “redeem” himself and get the country fixed, Dr. Nduom expanded the need for the president to focus on agriculture and food importation.

Also, the businessman drew an analogy between one of the most predominant features of the Acheampong era, Operation Feed Yourself, and the recent policy of this government to enforce a “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda.

According to his letter, while he fully believes in the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda, he fears the vision could just become a mere slogan soon, if nothing is done about it.

“To begin with, I support this vision for Ghana because it will promote self-reliance, that would lead to greater prosperity of our citizens.

“I am a supporter of “Ghana Beyond Aid” without reservations.

“My concern is that this vision may become a mere slogan. Over the years, Ghanaians have heard “the private sector is the engine of growth” with no fuel to make the engine move for the benefit of the people. They have been presented with “Zero Tolerance for Corruption” and “Probity, Accountability, and Transparency” and yet corruption is seen by citizens as the main barrier to their well-being. Many leaders, in business and politics have put out their versions of “Ghana First” visions yet there is no common agenda to work with to make it come alive,” his letter said in part.

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom also explained that the Operation Feed Yourself policy of the Ignatius Kutu Acheampong regime is something that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government can take inspiration from.

“When the late General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong championed the Ghanaian ownership of the commanding heights of the economy, it spawned concrete actions that are still delivering benefits to the state and its people. “Operation Feed Yourself” was and remains a popular policy from the Acheampong era,” he added.

Read Nduom’s full letter to the president below:

“Ghana Beyond Aid” is a vision put forth by your Administration. You have articulated this forcefully and pushed it in presentations to Ghanaian citizens. You have also stood your ground on this with foreign leaders particularly those from the western divide of global governance. Many have hailed it and bought into it as a very necessary agenda.

Recently though, the vision seems to be fading and does not find expression in formal presentations such as the budget and your own speeches at home and abroad. It is time to light some fire under this vision and make it real.

To begin with, I support this vision for Ghana because it will promote self-reliance that would lead to greater prosperity of our citizens.

I am a supporter of “Ghana Beyond Aid” without reservations.

My concern is that this vision may become a mere slogan. Over the years, Ghanaians have heard “the private sector is the engine of growth” with no fuel to make the engine move for the benefit of the people. They have been presented with “Zero Tolerance for Corruption” and “Probity, Accountability, Transparency” and yet corruption is seen by citizens as the main barrier to their well-being. Many leaders, in business and politics have put out their versions of “Ghana First” visions yet there is no common agenda to work with to make it come alive.

When the late General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong championed the Ghanaian ownership of the commanding heights of the economy, it spawned concrete actions that are still delivering benefits to the state and its people. “Operation Feed Yourself” was and remains a popular policy from the Acheampong era.

Given where we are, the following are actions I highly recommend for you to consider implementing to push the “Ghana Beyond Aid” vision.

All infrastructure contracts signed by the state must have a minimum 25% of value go to an indigenous Ghanaian and his/her enterprise.

All Cocoa roads and projects funded by COCOBOD must be given to indigenous Ghanaians and their companies.

Ban completely, the importation of chocolate, soft drinks, fruit juices, fruits, poultry and meats.

Ban the importation of rice and sugar.

Immediately ban the serving of any imported food or drink at all state functions.

School feeding programmes must only use locally produced food and drinks.

Take firm steps to ensure indigenous Ghanaian control (ownership) of the financial sector - banking, insurance, investment, pension and others at all levels.

All professional services agreements - architectural, technology, financial etc., must have at least 25% indigenous Ghanaian participation.

All new and renewed concessions for gold, bauxite, oil and gas, diamond, timber must have a minimum of 25% indigenous Ghana ownership.

The digitalization agenda must be placed firmly, 100% in the hands of indigenous Ghanaians and their companies.

Give full rights and recognition to Ghanaians who by necessity have become citizens of other countries - to vote, be employed by the state and compete for elective offices.

Will this hurt? Initially, yes. But eventually, we will be a better country, one whose citizens can aspire to prosperity with confidence.

I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the recommendations further.

Presented, Your Excellency, for your consideration.

Papa Kwesi Nduom.

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