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Opinions of Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Columnist: Iddrisu Abdul Hakeem

Stingy citizens, wicked opposition, fatigued government in a polarized country

Before I step on some economics fat toes in my quest to diagnose our economic illness, let me say with all emphasis at my command, that I'm not a student of economics but the lamest economics I studied at SHS affords me the privilege to say something about the affairs of our economy that is receiving a serious battery in our climes in Africa since our various independence, and the economic disease in my prognosis and diagnosis, is not farfetched: we don't pay tax.

Africa doesn't develop and doesn't know when to get out of her long charted economic doldrums path because she houses taxless economies.

Growing up in a rather local locality in a "no name" and "no on map" village somewhere in the Kumbungu Constituency, there was this tale of the moon I enjoyed telling my friends.

Once upon a time, there lived some group of hard working farmers who were lazy to prepare food for themselves.

Their farms, in search of fertile lands, were located in a very thick jungle of the lion king where all other beasts existed.

As a result, they had types of weapons and hunting tools to protect themselves as farmers and also for hunting, yet cooking was considered the sole job of the woman and nobody wanted to be a woman, so they always quarrel over preparation of meal as there wasn't any volunteer to do so.

The proverbial Kwaku Anansi studied them about this anomaly for a while. One day, he briefed the Lion King about his plan to get rid of all the murderers in their land to put an end to the senseless killing of the animals for meat by the farmers.

He went to the farmers around midday knowing they must be very hungry at that period of their farming and asked them whether they would appreciate if they get a cook for that day. They all responded in the affirmative!

Kwaku Anansi requested for chance to prepare their meal, they agreed and retired to rest under one huge Baobab tree to wait for their meal.

Soon the meal was ready for he roasted yams for them. After the meal, amidst expression of appreciations by the farmers, Kwaku Anansi asked them whether they can protect themselves against any attack of wild beasts? They told him that their guns, bows and arrows and other lethal weapons where kept in the hut where he prepared the food.

Kwaku Anansi replied them: "you glorified idiots"! "Did you expect me to uproot my teeth and break my limbs to be used as firewood to prepare your meal?"

That was how the beasts gained their independence in their own Kingdom, they didn't leave any shred of flesh or bone of the farmers, but used them as lunch and supper!

Fellow Ghanaians, do we expect our leaders to uproot their teeth to sell to run our country?

Sometimes I'm tempted to believe that what we call patriotism, a value that saw many economic pauper countries rose from the ashes of poverty, hunger and deprivation to world's economic giants never existed in our part of the world.

If you hear "government", it is not about the president and his first Lady or the vice president and his second lady, and perhaps with some few cabinet ministers. Government encapsulates and embodies all the people of that jurisdiction who conscientiously come together to improve upon the betterment of where they live called home or country by selecting few of them to oversee the affairs of the rest! And in that case, the people must sponsor the selected few to work on behalf of the rest by contributing funds to collectively embark upon projects that would be of help to everyone known us public property.

The UK, USA, Singapore, Dubai, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, China among others as great countries, we run to for honeymoons, didn't get manna from heaven sent them by God.

Their leaders and well meaning citizens through whose sweat, blood, or even pus those countries were built didn't drop from heaven with different DNA, they were all residents of the same cities with the rest of the people just like our own Nana Akufu Addo, his vice, and ministers, and those leaders did not sell firewood to service the people but through the patriotic contributions of the citizens in both cash and kind.

Ghana can never, and would never grow if we put pressure on our leaders to always go and borrow from other countries whose citizens have selflessly contributed to their nations building.

Ghana would never develop if we studiously fail to contribute to its building through cash, respect for authority, obedient to rules and regulations and readiness to shun from any shameful acts that have the tendency of bringing the name of the country into disrepute.

The VAT policy the government is attempting to implement should be welcome by Ghanaians out of love for the country.

It is one of the ways of 'killing' oneself for his or her nation. The great nations we always point to had selfless leaders who laid down their lives to make them what they are today.

If with our youthful population as a country majority of whom are graduates and we don't know the importance of such a tax, we are a disgrace to academia: "uneducated graduates"!

How many items do we pay tax for in Ghana?

Citizens elsewhere pay for their homes, cars, cooking utensils, furniture, including what they wear to constitute their tax that their leaders depend on to bring them development.

There's no doubt the nauseating levels of corruption in our land, is one factor that's sickening and weakening the patriotic spirit of many citizens to contribute to such a sacred course of nation's building, but if we all retool our thinking as born again patriotic citizens, we would be able to produce better leaders to judiciously manage the national kitty with a sense of responsibility.

God Bless Mother Ghana,

And Long Live us all.