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Opinions of Saturday, 9 February 2008

Columnist: Adomakoh, Joseph Smith

Why Free Market System will Triumph under Nana Akufo-Addo

The polemic remarks made by Mr. Kwami Agbodza relating to my article “Akufo-Addo: The Trump Card….”) are vitriolic. For example, in Mr. Agbodza posting on the Ghanaweb of his assessment of the meaning of free trade policy in Ghana, he stated that free trade has failed since 1957 and thus can never be implemented successfully in Ghana. (Kwame Agbodza “Free Market Akufo-Addo Ghana Will Remain in Same Poverty”) 01/23/08)). His views, though subliminal, are easily divulged when carefully reviewed in that, his views actually tends to be a liberal and adversarial bias to serve the crucial function of discrediting the NPP party of the truth about Ghana’s current economic status under the NPP’s administration.

The more Mr. Agbodza and Co of the Ghanaweb appear liberal and adversarial, the better they function in setting the boundaries of the thinkable. Because while criticism of one’s work is not out of line, the criticism of Agbodza and Co shows a systematic pattern of ideological framework of the NDC to discredit the NPP’s performance at all cost. For, even when the truth is pointed out, that framework of reference makes it impossible for any interlocutor to grasp what one is saying.

Therefore, in this article I will demonstrate that Mr. Agbodza’s propaganda model has failed to subdue the critical economic outlook in Ghana which makes it an ideal country for individuals to prosper through owning their businesses. My argument is that the model used by the Agbodzas of the Ghanaweb to explain the NDC’s subservience to the perspective of the NPP’s economic policy is broadly applicable to the operation of NDC itself. It has internalized a myth that smears the NPP government, while remaining silent on what exactly it is that makes them ineffective. Because, not withstanding their criticism, there is plenty of evidence that Ghana’s economy is boisterous and anyone who wishes can Google Ghana to find out; as we are not in the Stone Age but the information friendly 21st century.

Mr. Agbodza wonders how Nana Addo can bring prosperity to Ghana through his Indigenous Capitalism system given that, promises of free trade and its benefits made to Ghanaians since 1957, have been to no avail. Unfortunately in his assessment, Kwami failed to note that since 1957, Ghana had been plagued by the very thing that cuts the lifeblood that nourishes free trade to fertility namely, investors or capital. For example, in addition to communism under Nkrumah, the country suffered a number of coups in the first 25 years after independence in 1957 as follows:

1. 1966 Kotoka/Afrifa Coup 5.0 years (Number of years in Power) 2. 1972 Akyampong Coup 6.7 years 3. 1978 Akufo Coup 1.0 year 4. 1979 Rawlings Coup (1) 0.3 months 5. 1981 Rawlings Coup (2) 12 years 25 years

However, in recent times Ghana has become an attractive country or one of West Africa's few havens for economic and political stability and now showing increasing prospects for free trade success. It is exactly for these reasons that Nana Akufo-Addo wants to encourage indigenous Ghanaians to establish their own businesses not only to better themselves but also help to move the country forward economically by way of generating jobs for others. On that note, let us review one of the multiple opportunities in Ghana today.

Business Prospects

For brevity and the purpose of this discourse, let us take the case of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), as example of one area in Ghana that provides opportunity to starting small businesses in Ghana as part of Nana Addo’s Indigenous Capitalism program. In that, the deciding factors that foreign companies use to send a function of their operation to be preformed offshore are as follows: Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA). To elaborate, companies look for a country with a talent pool of people with strong knowledge in the English language both, written and spoken. They equally look for technical skills in the information communication technology (ICT) industry, and finally, the country’s ability to meeting an enabling environment that promotes liberalizing trade or free trade, etc.

Analysis of Factors

In analyzing these factors, we easily find out that with regards to (1) English language, about 11 million or 52 percent of Ghana’s population speak and write English with crystal clarity. Indeed, we pride ourselves of being among the privileged few countries in the World that speak the “Queen’s English”. (2) From ICT skills standpoint, Ghana matches highly skilled technology know-how, with the developed countries and, surpasses the whole of Africa, in this regard. (3) Regarding policy implementation, Ghana again, is among those at the forefront. For example, over the last decade or so, Ghana has undergone structural adjustment programs to bring about several basic economic stabilization components that have brought its economy into balance through, typically, reducing inflation and decreasing budget deficits while meeting debt payment schedules or getting debt forbearances. The country has also contained structural and sartorial policies that have aimed at integrating the country into the global economy by promoting exports, reducing state activity, and liberalizing trade, investment, and finance. Indeed, according to the World Bank’s “Doing Business in 2007 Report”, the report, listed Ghana and Tanzania among the top 10 reformers in the world. The resultant effects of these policy changes have placed Ghana into a phase of accelerated economic expansion over the last six years as evidenced in real GDP growth, balance of payment and other economic indicators. Government wishes to capitalize on these prospects and therefore is pursuing the implementation of the Private Sector Development Strategy as a crucial cornerstone to enhance the accelerated growth rate. Consistent with this policy, the NPP government is developing the services sectors including the ICT-BPO, to allow individual Ghanaians to start their on business; “because it sees the services sectors unique potential as harbingers of enhanced job creation and accelerated economic growth”.

Particularly the ICT-BPO sector stands out, as it is primarily export-oriented; and as such, guarantees earnings in foreign currency and thus guarantees profit maximization to investors. It also enhances job creation and ensures high wages. Additionally, unlike traditional sectors of the economy, the ICT-BPO sector requires relatively smaller investments in both time and funds to set up and start generating revenues. Other sectors are structurally slow to establish, requiring large capital and physical infrastructure with high gestation periods. Another important beneficial factor of this sector is it increases feminization of the labor force and thus enhances the chances of female participation in the workforce to better their livelihood.

The above analysis proves that there are indeed opportunities in Ghana that indigenous Ghanaians can take advantage of and start their own businesses. But to Kwami Agbodza and Co, this is unrealistic because it is not liberal enough given the underlying economic structure - free trade; and we understand. Because, in their camp, they rather prefer the NDC methodology of job creation which indeed guarantees job opportunity to all, but oppose private ownership, as in communism economic structure. Please read on.

Job Creation – P/NDC Style

When Rawlings came to power again in 1981, his version of job creation was recruiting some of the brightest brains in the country mostly youngsters (18-39 year olds) and shipped them to nefarious countries to be trained as gorilla warriors/commandos. When the group completed their training and came back home, Rawlings used them to establish his own private army – the Commando Unit, which was later “christened as the 64th Infantry Regiment” to represent June 4th and to protect and keep him in power forever. In the process he indeed guaranteed jobs to hundreds of thousands of those young men and women, who to date still feel indebted to him. However, when things didn’t work in his favor and eventually had to leave the presidency after finishing his two terms in office in 2000, the incoming law abiding administration, did not see it fit to utilize the services of the commando unit and therefore had to disband the unit as it was illegally constituted.

The seriousness of the creation of the unit is that, Rawlings merged the Commando Unit into the Ghana Armed Forces to circumvent the Constitutional provision prohibiting the establishment of any private army. But while that was going on, no one raised any objection to the unconstitutionality of that act, and the 64th Infantry Regiment was institutionalized to terrorize and brutalize Ghanaians with an unimaginable savagery for nearly 20 years, to which we all witnessed.

Consequently, Ghanaians have legitimate concerns to be alarmed of Rawlings’ dominant role in Dr. Mills bid for the presidency especially, his campaign antics conjure so many bad and sad memories. This is because should the NDC win the 2008 election, it is a foregone conclusion that both men will be at the helm of affairs of Mills presidency. That much has regrettably, become painfully apparent. And, that, Rawlings has a history of lawlessness, it will be a Fanfare for him to regroup his erstwhile 64 Infantry Regiment to keep him (more so than Mills) in power, and this time, in perpetuity. Therefore, Caveat Emptor, Ghanaian voters.

Against this background, one wonders why will - Dr. Mills, the high caliber and distinguished scholar with a proven track record of extraordinary accomplishments and who by virtue of his persona has gained the trust of Ghanaians to be affectionately called “Asomdwe Hene”, not disassociate himself from Rawlings – a semi-educated callous, cold-blooded murderer and buffoon, just as his colleagues including, Dr. Botchway, Dr. Obed Asamoa, Dr. Tawia Adamafio, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambers, and P.V. Obeng, before him have done. These former NDC Titans determined along the line that Rawlings is not worthy to work worth and left. With Dr. Millis’s background as defined above he can underwrite his own ticket to the presidency at a stroke of a pen without an iota of difficulty; and, therefore, doesn’t need to continue to contaminate his pristine name with a dimwit. And, until that happens, his continuous involvement with Rawlings renders him guilty by association in the event the unthinkable happens.

Joseph Smith Adomakoh, Jr. Wall Street, New York, NY February /04/08

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.