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Opinions of Friday, 7 October 2011

Columnist: Ashiagbor, Kwaku Kele

The Ghanain Condition (Part22)

FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF GHANAIAN RESOURCES.

I very much congratulate the Okyehene Amotia Ofori Panyin the Second for his boldness in stating the obvious as reported in one of today’s papers.
According to the publication, the Okyehene was lamenting about the foreign ownership of Ghana’s Resources which if not checked will cripple our economy and derail our development----a wise Chief indeed.
In my estimation the other wise and courageous Chief of the land is Otumfou—the Asantehene. These two wise Chiefs have been in the forefront talking and bringing developments to their respective areas,be it in education,health,conflict resolution and what have you.
I hope and pray that other Chiefs take a cue from these noble Chiefs and do likewise.
However the question that bothers me is that if some of our Chiefs can see the obvious danger in allowing foreigners to own our resources,be it mineral or agricultural ,how come that our Politicians can’t see these.
Just take a cursory look at the ownership of our gold and diamond mines as well as our recently found oil. Because of the greediness of our Politicians they normally look the other way when it comes to signing contracts(which are normally shrouded in secrecy and never see the light of day)as long as they get their 10% and few other perks.
What is so galling is that the indigenes on whose lands these extractive industries are located are always worse off in terms of developments like health,education and other social interventions.
In most cases they pay the price in having their waters polluted and suffer other untold hardships whilst our Politicians and their hangers on look unconcerned. As if these are not bad enough, these foreign companies pay very ridiculously low taxes which do not reflect or bear any relationship to the huge profits they take out of the country.
I think it is about time our present Government sit down with these foreign multi-national companies and re-visit each contract line by line. Apart from our late President Dr.Kwame Nkrumah,none of our Presidents have got the guts or what it takes to stand up to these foreign bullies and fight for mother Ghana----none.
As Dr. Nkrumah rightly predicted, Neo-Colonialism is the worst form of Colonialism.How come that after 54 years of Independence, we are still exporting products like cocoa beans, timber, gold, bauxite and others in the raw instead processing them here in Ghana and exporting the finished products?
When will Ghana have a visionary and innovative President who believes in Ghana and bat for Ghana all the time.
Unfortunately the crops of Politicians we have now on the scene do not augur well for the future. If they are not busy insulting each other,then they are busy thinking of how to screw the system in their favour and that of their families and hangers on, damned the rest.
It is me first and let the devil take the hind set. Unfortunately our beloved Ghana is suffering from that well known economic disaster commonly known as ‘A Resource Curse’. This simply means a country endowed with so much natural resources but due to endemic corruption, bribery and general maladministration, end up being poor because their leaders are overtly corrupt and thus can not manage their resources.
You the reader can judge for yourself if Ghana does not fit this description. Ghana has been exporting gold, diamond and other minerals for donkeys of years but what marginal gain have we got from these for all these years? We will be better off leaving these resources in the ground for all that we care.
Dear God, please have mercy on us and let an honest,visionary and selfless leader Like the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah emerge sooner than later.

KWAKU.KELE.ASHIAGBOR
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