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Opinions of Friday, 18 November 2016

Columnist: dailyguideafrica

You can’t trust Mahama

President John Mahama President John Mahama

Desperation has set in, government machinery is virtually shut down as the Chief of Staff who is supposed to be running the government systems is on the campaign trail, Kwmena Ahwoi has his team, Asiedu Nketia is on the other side. The otherwise neglected and abandoned Amissah-Arthur who is a ‘constitutional Vice-President’ with no active role in government has been offered a role in the campaign. By the way, Asiedu Nketia seems to be emaciating in the midst of plenty. What is happening to him, suffering from cancer or moneymalities? When poverty is killing our people, Asiedu Nketia seems to be dying of ‘good living’.

One of the things that amaze me in all these desperate campaigns is Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi’s epistle against the NPP; the NPP (sic) and what they did to Nkrumah. He goes on to talk about jobs the NDC intends to create when given another four years to govern this country. It is such a long time, but not too long to erase the actions of Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi, then Mr. Kwamena Ahwoi in confiscating and virtually collapsing the businesses of Ghanaians, mainly Akans, in this country.

Do I name them? He helped collapse Ghanaian initiatives, their foibles notwithstanding, he under the PNDC threw the baby of Ghanaian industry with the bathwater. Almost 30 years down the line, he is preaching job creation. May the souls of the B.A. Mensahs, Appentengs, Kowus, Boakye Mattress and the host of other unsung business heroes who fell under the gavel of Ato Ahwoi’s Citizen’s Vetting Committees, rest in perfect peace.

It is also strange when the NDC campaigners attempt to resurrect the bones of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and blame the NPP on anything bad about that great man. Just as it is very convenient but disingenuous for them to interchange the United Party (UP) with the NPP, have they forgotten that the successor of the CPP, ideologically and in terms of leadership and personality, the CPP minus Nkrumah, was the People’s National Party (PNP) led then by Dr. Hilla Limman, which was brutally ousted from office by the very people who today are praising Nkrumah political tradition instead of their own Rawlings and the Ahwois tradition? Are they ashamed of their past?

I listened briefly to President Mahama on Wednesday evening when he was answering questions on GTV, mundane as some of the questions were, he simply rattled without answering those questions. On the creation of sustainable job opportunities for the teeming youth of this country, he threw figures here and there, 1000 jobs here, 5000 jobs there, 2000 jobs being created in other places and on and on and on.

When asked about the sustainability of those jobs by the discredited GYEEDAs and the YEAs, he then turns round to blame the youth for being unemployed because they do not have the skills to have sustainable jobs. ‘Employers are not looking for fresh graduates,’ he said and urged the youth to look out for skills that industry requires. Great, the question is what other skills do trained nurses who have not been employed three years after training and graduation, require to be employed?

He tells them they cannot have money in their pockets when they sit at home without doing anything: are we requiring trained nurses, teachers and other professionals to go to Kokompe to further train to be able to be given jobs? If there are modules for unskilled and informally educated Kaya Yei to create jobs for themselves, what modules do you have for trained nurses and teachers without jobs so that they will not be staying at home and expect to have monies in their pockets.

Mahama gives an example of welders not properly trained to be gainfully employed by the burgeoning oil industry. The NPP through vision and effective targeting, found oil in commercial quantities, it did not live to see the drilling of the commodity. The NDC inherited it, but did not have the common sense that welders, as artisans, are so much crucial to the oil industry to make conscious efforts to train our numerous youth to be able to contribute significantly to that sector.

A government bereft of vision and forward planning, populist in its outlook believes that converting Polytechnics into Universities is more important than effectively resourcing the institutions to offer artisanal training to the youth to empower them to work on their own and where necessary, be employed in sectors that require their skills and training.

It is the responsibility of a government to shape the educational programme in a manner that will produce skills and training that are relevant to the needs of the labour market at any given time. Government fails to do that and turns round to blame the youth for taking what is available to them. He says the youth are not taking advantage to make money, where are the opportunities? Barren minds at work. It is heartwarming, if it is true that many young people are acquiring lands to cultivate cocoa to increase our production and export. That crop remains the single largest exportable commodity which brings in substantial foreign exchange.

The next question to President Mahama is, what is he doing to stop the destruction of existing and matured cocoa farms by the Chinese who invade the cocoa farms to illegally mine gold? Cocoa farms have been unwilling hosts to bulldozers and caterpillars, clearing the farms with glee and impunity, indeed, they are armed to the teeth while the owners of the farms gnash their teeth with no help from anywhere.

What guarantee do those young ones you claim are rushing to acquire lands to produce the cocoa have against the predating mechanical claws of the Chinese and their principals in government? The young ones are not going to plant cocoa for the sake of it; it is their life and future. As a grandson of cocoa farmers in the Upper Denkyira District in the 1970s, I know what it takes to produce cocoa.

President Mahama never ceases to amaze the world that Komenda Sugar Factory is in operation? That edifice is simply a white elephant since the monies for the production of the basic raw materials are now being sought for. No single sugar cane is being produced for the purposes of producing sugar from the factory, so how is the factory operating? Reviving the Aboso Glass Factory? This factory was functioning until the P/NDC took power and presided over its total collapse under the 19 year rule of the same group of people. In the late 1990s, the factory was virtually given to Gilchrist Olympio of Togo for free.

It operated for a while, not much investments were put in, and it collapsed again, leaving behind a light bill of about two billion old Ghana cedis at that time. I personally as a journalist visited the factory in or around 1999 to talk to the management of the company then, to find out how it was performing. It happened under the NDC.

Reviving the STC, according to President Mahama? Once again, this Company which had almost 95 percent ownership by SSNIT was in 1999 offered to a relation of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings who had just 5% shares to manage.

It was the Kufuor administration which reversed the situation else we would have lost it. The P/NDC sold off over 200 State Owned Enterprises whose existence cannot be located, save about five in the hospitality industry.

Kufuor did one major divestiture of the Ghana Telecom which then was 70% owned by the state. The efficient performance of Vodafone out of Ghana Telecom is unparalleled among all divestitures we have done in this country. Old staff were paid handsome compensations, young people have been employed and trained and are working to help build the country.

The economic policies of the Mahama administration which hinge on taxing the blood out of industry, crowding out industry from credit from the financial institutions are not enabling enough to help the private sector. He does not believe in the philosophy of the private sector being the engine of growth so he can’t do it. Don’t trust him.

Daavi, some three tots.

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