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Opinions of Monday, 13 December 2004

Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku

A Letter to the President.

Dear President Kuffour,
I would like to congratulate you for wining the 2004 election. And, I would like to express appreciation for given Ghanaians a very peaceful four- good yrs. Well ,we have never met. But I?m compelled to write to you directly because I strongly believe that you want to make a difference, especially, with your focus on transparency in the government and the economy.

I?m not a politician or your re- election campaign contributor. And, I do not have any party affiliation yet in Ghana. So I presume this letter won?t make it to your desk---it will most likely end up in a trash can in the Castle?s mail room. That would be sad because I bring you a message from a member of your most important and certainly ignored and neglected constituency in the land?the so- called ?Ghanaian emigrants?. Please wait.! Don?t hang up. Yes. I?m talking about those whose remittances help to fuel the Ghanaian economy and help people back home to buy the basics of life?food, clothing and medicine. Those remittances also help the families back home to start businesses build houses, or finance a family member?s education. This emigrants represent about 2.5 percent of the entire population of Ghana. So won?t it be prudent to create a cabinet post for such an important segment of the population ? At least ,there should be a special department which can help to relocate those Ghanaians who are planning to move back home. Paradoxically, their patriotisms have been compensated. They are sometimes, the frontline recipients of the armed robbers? vengeance and physical abuses .

While we?re at it I also want to bring to your attention the? brain Drain? factor. the country is experiencing .For one thing., there?s not much the government can do to stop people from looking for a better life else where . .First of all, the government can create a business and entrepreneur friendly ecology that can retain and attract our professionals and skilled labor force. But, before that the government can get dividend from that emigration trend by teaming up with the foreign governments? job recruitment agencies. In this sense the Government can assign a nurse or a medical Doctor to a foreign hospital for a specific amount of yrs, and small amount of the individual?s salary will be sent home to the government to train and replace that professional. The money can also be used to buy new equipment for medical schools. The government can also tap into the pool of Ghanaian ?emigrants professionals .This can be done by registering every Ghanaian residing out- side Ghana. A special arrangement can be made to make use of the skills when these professionals go home for visit. I?m sure most of them won?t mind serving their country for a week or two while vacationing in their own land. voila. This will be a win, win situation for the nation and the individual professional.

Mr President, why Ghanaians abroad don?t pay any tax in Ghana? I think it will be a good idea to institute a flat rate tax system. I?m talking about an amount say,$100 a yr for every 18yr old Ghanaian living outside Ghana more than a year. The money can be collected at the airport ,passport offices and Ghana embassies. Of the $100.00 ,fifty percent will go to the individual?s home town?s development. The other fifty percent should go to the district council of the individual tax payer.

Another bad side of the Ghana development equation is the huge alarming rate of the youth unemployment. And ,the reason for that is the Ghanaian youth has been mis-educated and undereducated. There?s also lack of comprehensive programs in place for them. Unfortunately, our Youth has been neglected and disposed like used tires from the national agenda. I wonder whether because they don?t vote. But ,Mr.President a nation that lets its huge young population uneducated ,mis-educated, under- educated and without any marketable skills is bound to remain poor for ever. In short, Ghana can?t survive without uplifting its youth by giving them the social and economic empowerment tools to compete with the rest of the world.I therefore suggest that every student in Ghana should take entrepreneurship as part of the academic course.

Given the limbo and economic and social conditions of the country ,an educated youth .couple with a marketable skills?maybe Ghana?s best ,if not the only social survival tool. And, in the computer age there should be no excuse for the inferior education our young population are getting.

This brings us to the other important aspect of the Ghana?s development and institutions. In these day and age we can not take the roles of chiefs and kings for granted, especially, given the political power they possess in our towns and villages.They ?re equivalent to mayors in the western world. Yet they?re not required to have any formal training in Public administration .so as to keep tempo with time and development.This explains why so many towns and villages have no bank account , and they lookup to the castle for revenue generating resources. I therefore would like to suggest that a mandate few weeks intensive training in Public Administration for every chief in the country.They should also be taught how to mobilize their communities to be more business oriented and self-reliance

Mr. President, I believe there?s a direct correlation between poverty and other emerging health and social problems we?re experiencing in our part of the world. So your government should try as much as possible to fulfill the primary obligation of every government. Which is nothing less than equipping its citizens to live and compete successfully in the global arena ,of today and tomorrow. So I hope these are not too much to ask from you,the government and the citizen is this great country. This is just a plead from the-self-imposed economic exiles who are tired of being global trotters. Mr. President ,we better get busy while we have time. because when things fall apart none of us would be at ease.

I thank you very much for your undivided attention

Yours truly,
Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi.
New Jersey,USA


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