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Opinions of Thursday, 22 May 2014

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey S.

The Economic Forum farce

The Economic Forum farce: Political will to act courageously is what we lack!

The recent economic forum organized by president Mahama is nothing but a sheer waste of precious little time. What makes it even sad is that our newspapers are replete with all that ails us economically. And if the newspapers are not enough, the president can go out and observe. Can the president say with a straight face that he does not know the problems or solutions that Ghana needs? It does not take much to finger the economic ills that blight our landscape and solutions that abounds. So while people continue to die, President Mahama and his cohorts swirl fine cognac and masticate grade-A beef. Surely not acceptable!!

Ghana’s problems and challenges are well documented. The problem is that problems don’t age well. Problems take a life of their own if not attended to or solved at the root cause level. Problems stand out like sore thumbs! There is nothing here that Mahama is dealing with that Kufour did not face!! Kufour chose his poison bright and early. He ginned up for HPIC and survived on that ruse. HPIC was temporary and overhyped. Now our problems are back with a vengeance and President Mahama is totally clueless and obviously overwhelmed.

Ghana’s problems will never be solved until we have leaders who are fearless and do not worry about the next election. Short cuts and temporary fixes will not cut it! Instead, they provide gargantuan opportunities for further corruption and incompetence. The challenge we face is a lack of political will. It is called leadership. Take the issue of jobs for example! We all know that Ghana’s economy is a neo-colonialist one. It is propped up to serve foreign interest from without and vested interest from within. This is the God’s honest truth. We have colonial masters and their lackeys running our affairs to their benefit. Until we change this paradigm, our progress will continue to be stunted.

We have an economy that produces nothing and yet we consume everything foreign. Given our natural resources, we have no business importing rice and poultry for example. Interestingly, the IMF and its partners in crime have convinced us to shut down these industries in Ghana. If the erstwhile rice farmer cannot grow rice, how can he or she afford the imported deadly white rice? All of sudden, we import deadly white rice and cholesterol infused chicken? Why stage an inconsequential economic conference when you know that growing rice and raising poultry locally will help create jobs? Take a cursory look at all the sectors of the economy and you will understand my slant. Find out the groups behind white rice imports and you will understand my drift. Corruption and Nepotism!!

What we need now more than ever, is a leader who has the strength and will to tell these parasites to bug off. We need a leader who can communicate with the people about the ploys of these foreign leeches. We need a leader who can tell us what the suffering will be and how we can all help to get to the finish line. I am not naïve enough to deny that they will be suffering and pain. My itch is that our suffering and pain does not lead to a better future. In this case, we are suffering just so that the local vested interest can live large and their foreign masters can laugh all the way to the bank. The latter is not acceptable. Too many are suffering and dying for no good reason. We must step up and demand fundamental changes! Yes we must act now!

My friends, I believe strongly that contracts must be obeyed. However, I also believe that contracts are not etched in stone. A leader must be able to bring these oil frauds to the table to discuss our needs vis-à-vis all the oil that they are lifting inside the country. Kill me if you want but I will continue to say that we must not starve for oil so long as oil is being drawn from our soil. What is wrong in demanding that 20% or 30% of all oil dug in Ghana stay in Ghana? It makes no absolute sense whatsoever that oil is being lifted everyday from Ghana but our people continue to suffer! Come on! We worry about the heritage fund when the real robbery lies with the sweets deals and kickbacks that occurred with the oil drilling set up. Our real heritage is the oil that our forefathers and ancestors left us. I am sure you can discern how well we our enjoying this heritage. What a shame!

It will take a real leader to admit that Ghana needs to develop from within. This means that we should produce, as much as we can, most of the stuff that we consume. Our food, shelter and clothing must mainly be produced locally. Most of our natural resources should be transformed and sold locally. We must not spare any opportunity to create jobs locally. Ghana must disengage from this fleeting economic engagement that shows no promise of upliftment or abatement. Our fundamentals are flawed and until we put in a good foundation, the house will falter ceaselessly.

So my fellow Ghanaians, the next time president Mahama invites you to a conference at some porch hideout, ask him this simple question: Where is your political will to stand up to the frauds, bullies, and creeps who continue to suck the blood of the sufferer? The time to talk is past. Right now we need action. We need obvious action! I did not get an invitation to the Akosombo economic forum, and rightfully so, but I will list some of the most basic things that we can do now to push the economy forward.

1. Create an addressing system
2. Create a computerize property registration system
3. Create a computerize DMV system—National ID
4. Cancel or renegotiate all foreign contracts that can and must be fulfilled in Ghana
5. Declare “Ghana only” areas in the economy to help local industries
6. Leave at least 20%-30% of all the oil drilled in Ghana in Ghana
7. Freeze awarding any foreign contracts in areas of the economy where made in Ghana can help
8. Fight the rampant corruption
9. Fight incompetence in all areas of public service
10. Start a massive campaign on “operation Ghana made”
11. Deflate the bloated public bureaucracy
12. Purge the ghost names out of the compensation system
13. Pay all Ghanaian whatever pay is owed them for work done
14. Revamp the law enforcement system
15. Overhaul the healthcare and education system

The number one challenge Ghana faces is jobs! We must be self –reliant and must develop from within. The number solution is political will to do the right thing without worry about elections. I implore the people of Ghana to rise and change their destiny. Ghana must change and develop from within. The only people with power to bring about change in Ghana are its people. If we don’t want the IMF and other foreign companies to tell us what to do, then we must do it ourselves. Rise up!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Affectionately dubbed the Da Double edge sword and recently mobbed as Santrofi Anomaa. ( I can be reached at Check out Highlife Radio on Saturday morning!!

I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell---Harry Truman