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Opinions of Sunday, 15 January 2017

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.

President Akufo-Addo's first week

By: Kwaku A. Danso

Glad to hear the elected President is at least mentioning something productive about his vision before the week ended.

This one district-one factory idea is a good one but one needs roads and communication systems, housing and many other related economic activity for rural Ghana! It is the most brilliant idea since Kwame Nkrumah was kicked out by the bad boys!

Don't forget Ghana has already spent $49.8 million on these politicians in the 6 days! ($8.3 million per day).

Having been around industry for my young days as Engineer and Manager in Silicon Valley California as well as Kokomo Indiana and Texas, and my own small businesses in the US over 12 years, and then in Ghana struggling it out for a few years, and reading this, it gives some hope. However it is obvious to me these people are just talking! They have never trodden this path and don't know the bottlenecks our own nation places as barriers. Not to put any honorables down but I remember asking Alan Kyeremateng, then Ambassador to the US (and coincidentally a young student in the school I taught before I came to the US), about his Bawjuase Cassava starch factory; and he gave me a very disappointing answer. It was public and I did not reveal who I was nor did I want to embarrass him. Point is that politicians and government don't create industries! As of now Ghana Standards Board and FDA and those bureaucrats will kill any enthusiasm. I was there this July-August 2016. Simple testing of our Agro fruits in a mixture I created for do mestic and export market, these Scientists are telling me will take 4 months! I already paid about Ghs 6,000 and this whole thing should not take 3 days for the test and say a week to do the paperwork! I was willing to pay extra Ghs 2,000 to have it expedited but when the stupid idiot could not guarantee the GSA and FDA work and approval before the Christmas I refused to pay!

It is going to take Ghanaians to build Ghana and not many Legon or KNUST graduates today can pay Ghs 6,000 to FDA, then pay and rent space, and hire a couple of employees and make an investment worth it! President Akufo Addo and his team should stop talking the talk and drinking palm wine with Chiefs or singing the gospel music with those Pastors; and they should go in the field and ask hard core questions of the applicants and businesses who have registered in the last say 3-10 years and find out the truth!

You don't create industries with mouth-mouth! Compare lending interest rate in Ghana of 25-39% and assistance or rather barriers! Interest rate is around 4-5% in America and small businesses can get 95% financing through Banks guarantee by the American SBA. Eximbank in USA will help projects overseas if equipment or resources are from the US to benefit the US.

One of my Ghanaian friends just came back traveling to some East African countries to promote some US products and says the American officer here in California wakes up at 4am to talk to the US embassy in Kenya and other East African countries! He only pays a reasonable daily rate and when he arrives he is picked up by the Embassy staff and chauffeured to appointments and introduced!

Ask also how America and later places like Singapore, attracted all these talent from around the world, the top Scientists and Engineers and industrialists and our people in power in Ghana may learn a trick or two if they are sincere!

All the best! Lets produce some of what we consume! (BTW Is that not in the Bible somewhere?)

Dr. K. Danso Jan.14, 2017