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Opinions of Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Columnist: Asiedu-Young, Belinda

The Ghana business model

By Bellinia Asiedu-Young

Here are 3 of the many assumptions to support the fact that the Ghana Business Model is in a quagmire. According to media sources, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently recommended a reduction of Bank of Ghana’s budgetary support to the Ghana government.

It comes as no surprise as Ghana continues to be sustained largely through borrowing from either the IMF or through grants it receives from its development partners.

This recent call supports the assumption that the Central Bank which is almost defunct, is presiding over banking institutions that are not profitable. It further presupposes that if both the government and the central bank were doing their due diligence, external outfits such as the IMF will not be concerned about the country’s spending or sustainability.

These occurrences should be enough to worry the financial overseers of Ghana and prompt them to seek alternative ways to generate revenue for the state, perhaps other viable ways not yet explored.

Another evidence of Ghana’s financial woes is the recent lift of a ban on rice importation. An importation ban which had been in force for about 3 years. It was allegedly put in place to protect rice growers and to help them promote Ghana rice. So why its sudden stoppage?

The lifting of this ban shows that Ghana has not been successful with rice production. With rice becoming a staple in Ghanaian households, it is important for government to support the growers so that they can produce wholesome and quality grain rice for the populace.

It is a no-brainer that the farmers need technical and financial assistance; so why is the government reluctant to invest in them the same way it coerced and funded Juliet Cotton (an unemployed American woman having no business experience or farming experience) with approximately 20 million dollars of Ghana’s money to produce rice for Ghana? What is left for Ghana to do now is to put in place an exhaustive plan to help farmers produce good quality, wholesome rice.

That being said, it is also time to privatize rice production and remove the stifling state machinery. Ghana should reverse the tragedy of the Quality Grain Scandal and institute a well-orchestrated Quality Grain Program to better serve rice farmers.

The appropriate ministry should allow the farmers to soar high and encourage them to proudly taste the fruits of their labour. They should bring in the experts to teach farmers the tips and tricks of the trade and provide them with the needed tools and the required funding, and we will see if in a few years Ghana will emerge as the rice producer for the African continent or not.

Lastly, there was recently an unprecedented suggestion to impose Airport Safety tax on all passengers and cargoes passing through Ghana soil. This initiative which was already dead on arrival was a clear sign that perhaps Ghana is not in tune with what goes on elsewhere. It makes one wonder why Ghana is still unable to find the right fix to solve its problems.

It has been mentioned over and over again that Ghana must look for home grown solutions to its problems. Countries are like business entities that need to generate revenue in order to survive. Perhaps, that being what has been lacking with the Ghana Business Model; the government entity not operating properly and leaders lacking the right experience and knowledge to operate the country as a viable business entity.

I will end by asking readers to please help solve this puzzle: What is the Ghana Business Model? Can you think of any remarkable ways to move Ghana forward? Thank you.