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Opinions of Sunday, 24 June 2007

Columnist: Asamoah, Gordon Newlove

Ghanaians are too pro-foreign

At times I wonder how we intend to develop our economy as Ghanaians. Dan Lartey preaches domestication and I am tempted to go with him at times though not to the very extreme as he wants us to believe. But there is every sense in whatever he is saying. For Ghana to develop we have to produce at least half of the goods we consume and consume at least 60% of the goods we produce in Ghana. This will guarantee us the needed markets for the investors.

What I have realised is that from the top to the bottom, that is from the government to the average Ghanaian on the street, we tend to give preferences to foreigners in everything in the country. Even in the ongoing Mentor on TV3, most of the contestants want to dance with the foreigners and not the indigenous Ghanaians. There is nothing wrong being friendly and nice to foreigners but not at the expense of our own people.

I bet you, if a Ghanaian investor and a foreign investor go to the ministries to acquire license to operate, the foreigner will get his license as early s possible while the Ghanaian will be frustrated for long before his persistency will yield result.
My main concern today is about the patronage of Ghana International Airlines (GIA). I have travelled with foreign airlines before but I have being travelling with Ghana airways from 2002 until its collapse and now I travel with the GIA.The patronage I should say is very discouraging. Ghana airways collapsed due to lack of patronage. Now that we have GIA if we do not patronise it, how can they survive? You look at the patronage of the other foreign airlines and you wonder if we really care for this dear country of ours. It is not like the services of GIA are poor compared to the other airlines. Their services are really nice and their rates very competitive.
In economics we called something economies of scale where you can produce at lower cost when you buy in bulk or produce on large scale. In the same way if we can patronise GIA much more than it is now, then they can improve their services and be more moderate and more competitive.
I travelled to the UK with GIA on the 12th June, 2007 and I was really sad when the plane was taking off. The flight was less than 50% full and is not like Ghanaians do not travel. This is Summer (PEAK) period and if GIA cannot be full or even 80% capacity full, then what about the off-peak periods?
I am not campaigning for GIA but I am appealing to well meaning Ghanaians to be more patriotic and take actions that will move the economy forward towards economic growth and development. I have always said that no one will develop our country for us but ourselves. The destiny of this country is in our hands and let us turn it around for the best.

GORDON NEWLOVE ASAMOAH
(LECTURER AND PUBLIC POLICY ANALYST)
KNUST SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, KUMASI-GHANA


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