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Opinions of Sunday, 6 November 2005

Columnist: Agboo, George

Re: The hijacking and marginalization of the President of Ghana

I have been tempted to react to this article on Ghanaweb, not because the writer is not entitled to her opinions but because of the convenient half-truths , misinformation and blatant lies she uses to support her arguments. I have gone through the trouble of reacting to her article sentence by sentence in ITALICS.

Observing the activities of the President of Ghana, his advisors who are about fifty of so relatives, makes one to belief that the people of Ghana are on a wrong path. Could you please name the 50 or so relatives you refer to?

There is so much ignorance and arrogance of the ruling party that I have regretted voting for them in the last two elections. That is the beauty of democracy. At least next time you can vote for the CPP, UGCC or NDC and do not have to endure the ?pain? for more than 4 years.

This statement is not a call for Rawlings and co as they have proven to be worse not better, It's my candid call for a new face or a third force to step into the arena of polities in the Ghana to challenge these Kumasi club members.

It is a truism that President Kuffour takes Alan Kyerematen as his son, since the father of Alan and the President all belong to the so called Kumasi socialites. When Alan Kyeremant was the Ambassador of Ghana. He had on his resume and referred to himself as Ghana's Bill Gates, due to his entrepreneurship skills and his association with the Empretec organization. This was the most absurd untested profile ever seen. Do you have a copy of the man?s resume in which he reffered to himself as Ghana?s Bill Gates or you are just assuming . For your information, Allan was named by Time Magazine in 1994 as one of the 100 global leaders for the new millennium alongside Bill Gates and John F. Kennedy jnr and others. I have seen his resume before and that is what he refers to.

It is not strange that during at the AGOA conference in Washington DC about three years ago, a Ghanaian businessman was exhibiting and promoting his deer (otwe) farm with display of deer brochures as an export to US all under the supervision of Alan Kyeremateng, and the Ghana Export Promotion Council. I can not attest to this but if there is a legitimate business as deer farming and one wants to export it, what is wrong?

The President of the Ghana is like a blind man who just follows wherever he is told to go with no vision, self confidence and direction. Couldn?t you do without this line. This is not a nice thing to say about the president of your country even if you do not like him. Lets all learn to respect the office of the president.

Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Na who cause am?

Gold, timber, and cocoa production are major sources of foreign exchange. Unemployment is about 20% and the economically active population and youth population are roaming in Accra and Kumasi without jobs. Where are the commercial farms or the IT based structures that can become the economic base and pillars of the country. CocaCola is building plants in Africa. Over the years, few companies have invested in Africa?s consumer markets. However, Coca-Cola has proved itself the exception to invest $1 billion in Africa. Most of these investments are in South Africa where it employs over 800,000 people to serve the Southern Africa region, because they know that Africans are thirsty and while they reap their profits, African can use Coca Cola as water. Alan Kyeremanten as blind as he is can't read between the lines and help the government to formulate a good policy for investment and trade in Ghana. It is not Coca Cola and others who are about to solve the problems in the Country. Coca Cola is just a little fraction of the solution.

The government has made it abundantly clear that its vision is not to be in business but to create the platform for business. This includes the necessary tax incentives, infrastructure and legal framework. For example corporate tax has been reduced by the government, tax incentives provided for listing on the stock exchange and for non-traditional exports.

Inflation has been reduced, interest rates brought down, and the cedi has been stabilised. Are these the works of a blind man? For once businesses are able to plan knowing that the LC?s they open today will not increase in cedi terms by due date. Long term planning is a tonic for business growth, my sister.

Government has cut back on its domestic debts and money is being pumped into infrastructure (those of us in Ghana with eyes, see it).agriculture continues to grow and last year there was a record cocoa harvest.

At least coca cola has increased its investments in Ghana since this president took power.

That coke and others will invest more in south africa and other more developed places is the truism of life we must accept. Newmont , alcoa and others have all come to Ghana during this President?s term and yet some see nothing or refuse to see .

This is the Whittaker billable hours and the Kyeremanten misplaced priorities. They credit Rosa Whittaker with much success on the AGOA, but without vision and a follow up policy, just check what has happened to Lesotho, about three fourths of the textile factories have closed down due to current US policies. Meanwhile, Kyerematen follows her as a mentor, consultant and advisor.

Kyeremanten started his Cassava program, which was one of the mistakes of this government. Cassava is a staple food for more than 200 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. Rich in calories, highly drought tolerant, thriving in poor soils and easy to store in the ground, cassava is "the life" for the poorest of the poor in Africa. As a crop for the poor, local Ghanaians have learnt to grow Cassava before the policies of Ministry of Special Initiatives on Cassava by Allan Kyerematen. There is no need to waist time on a Ministry of Special Initiatives for Cassava Plantations. The lack of foresight for to lay the grounds for an effective land policy and commercialization of an export base crop is evident here. Brazil grows Cassava, but they don't waist their time with Ministerial Portfolios on Cassava plantation. At the last check there was no ministerial portfolio on cassava plantation in Ghana. I am glad at least that you acknowledge a vision there although you do not agree with it. Yes our people know how to cultivate cassava and palm and cocoa and others, but then why are we still poor? The president's special initiatives as a public-private sector partnership was to accelerate the development of such rural based products as cassava into lead export earners, generate employment and eradicate poverty. Not all policies work and it is our duty as collective Ghanaians to offer constructive criticsms for policy refinement.

Kuffor and some of his people are just a disgrace to the millions of Ghanaians in Europe and a the USA. I am proud of my president j. A kufuor and please speak for yourself.

Take for example when the US wanted to establish a call center for the visa systems in West Africa, the government delayed and until the contractor packed and established the Call Center in Dakar Senegal employing many people in Senegal. With a one week notice, Senegal approved the Call Center to function in Dakar. It has been noted by many industrialists and investors, Ghana can be the base and have the answers to many corporate outsourcing industries better than in India. There is an educated work force, the time zone is preferable than India, and its is the time to train many in high tech and IT. But just look at what is happening, there is a high taxation on computers, Bartels is making a proposal for cabinet Ministers to enter farming as a solution to the farming problems. Whilst i do not have proof of this and cannot say much at least if it is true , it shows that countries worldwide are now competing for business. Look at the number of times countries are now advertising as destination of choices. Our public sector is lagging and I think that is why the government has a public sector reform program running. Its about marketing ourselves. I believe you are in the United States , how many times haven?t you heard Ghana been referred to as Guyana. And yet when the president travels to sell the country , it is a waste.

There are opportunities in Ghana with the right advise to the leaders, but not the hijacking of the Presidency to parade as delegation to watch movie about Ghana in Silver Spring, Maryland The US has over 200 companies in South Africa and hundreds in Kenya. These African Governments do not bring a whole delegation to watch movies about Kenya or South Africa. What an analogy. In the first place, Ghana is the second African country (after Uganda) to have had this partnership with discovery and the African society. So how does Kenya and South Africa fit in. Networking in this global village is not just necessary ; countries survive on it.

To best of my knowledge this is all billable hours for The Whittaker Group to live comfortably in their Maryland mansions and also to the organization that promoted the movie about Ghana. It?s high time the current Ambassador of Ghana in Washington DC to shut up defending the government and learn to initiate and contribute to intelligent forums and conversations. If setting the records straight and telling the truth is defending the government , then that is the ambassadors job. Next time time check your facts and figures. Blatant lies and distortions do not help grow a nation?

I just can't wait for 2008 ? and so cant i`.......to make it ayele (3-0)



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