Home | News | The Fundamental Problems Of The Ghanaian Economy-An Open Letter To The Finance Minister In Response To His Statement That "We Must Reduce Large Public Sector Workforce"

The Fundamental Problems Of The Ghanaian Economy-An Open Letter To The Finance Minister In Response To His Statement That "We Must Reduce Large Public Sector Workforce"

The Author

The Author

DISCLAIMER
I want to start off this article by making some disclaimers in order that I am guided in my submission.

1. I am not a technocrat
2. I have never pretended to be one
3. I am not pretending to be one and
4. I will not pretend to be one.
Therefore, what I seek to do in this article is simply to apply 'common sense' which is available to all men and women.

The fundamental problems of the Ghanaian economy is not about the number/size of public sector workers.

INTRODUCTION
Sir, there is a data that states that about 50% of the total Ghanaian revenue is spent on the salaries of about 50,000 public sector workers. Sir, on the account of this, you as the Finance Minister, on 24th July, 2018, suggested retrenchment as the solution.

ANALYSIS AND SYNTHESIS
Hon Ken Ofori-Atta, please how are you going to work that out?

Are you going to possibly lay qualified public sector workers off simply because government finds it difficult to remunerate them? I don't get it, Sir.

I am surprised at your suggestion because, qualified workers in the public space hold their offices or work, directly as a result of what they profess and I shudder to think of how some of them could be simply laid off.

Sir, with all due respect, I am rather surprised at your reticence of not pointing out to your boss, H.E. Nana Addo, the excessive and outragious size of his government and a possible rightsize, or if you like, downsize.

Sir, a country like China has a population of 1.379 billion, but has only 20 ministers. The same China does not have the kind of nnatural resources we have, but it does not have about 998 Presidential Staffers.

Unfortunately, Ghana is a small country with about 28 million people. However, Sir, your government has 110 ministers and 998 Presidential Staffers, and you think this is not a problem? How much does the average teacher take? Juxtapose that with the salary of that Presidential Staffer, who through by accident of history, found their way into the Flagstaff House. Look at the fat salaries 'some' armchair and pen-pushing government appointees are taking home, and you think these are not alarming?

Sir, again, I think the Ghanaian natural resources are not exploited for the benefit of the Ghanaian people.

This is as a result of the obnoxious Foreign Exchange Retention Agreements that we sign with the mining companies.

How could we have had a country that signs a foreign retention agreement that reserves less than five(5) percent for her citizens?

Any country that does that is on the verge of collapsing its economy.

I think the Ghanaian natural resources are being exploited wrongly.

The way forward is to allow Ghanaians to keep or perhaps reserve the chunk part of whatever is taken from Ghanaian soils.

A little history to buttress my point has to do with the regime of our Former President, General Kutu Acheampong.

A lot of people used to badger with him or perhaps beleaguer General Acheampong and what they used to say was that he was not properly educated because he was a product of Swedru Business School.

With all that were said, General Acheampong's regime has been the best, without doubt, after Our First President, Osagyefour Doctor Kwame Nkrumah.

Acheampong's regime saw one of the best Foreign Exchange Retention Agreements when he decreed that Ghanaians should keep about 55 percent of resources that were taken from Ghanaian soils.

That agreement was very remarkable and went a long way to boosting the economy of Ghana at the time.

Sir, I think contemporary leaders like you should take a cue and inspiration from General Kutu Acheampong and do the right thinking to find concrete and real solutions to our employment and remuneration issues, rather than the lazy thinking of retrenchment.

Another problem that I have identified as a layman is the fact that public and private contracts are not awarded to Ghanaian contractors.

I am not too old, but from where I sit, I know about Ghanaian Contracting firms that we had sometimes ago.

We used to have;
1. Gbewa Civil Engineering Company
2. Swedru Contractors
3. State Contracting Company and among others.
They undertook most of the big projects we have in Ghana and they are still being used up till today.

Where are all those companies?
We have killed them because of our attitudes.
I remember when we were going for one of our EuroBonds, the justification was that, we needed that money to pay our local contractors. Government put all their names down.

When we had the money, surprisingly, we didn't hear the name of any local contractor.

Rather, there were Israeli contractors, German contractors, Chinese contractors, Indian contractors and among others on the list.

The effect was that, the money that we borrowed went back to the companies of the Colonial Metropolis.

If we had paid our local contractors, I think the money would still remain in Ghana for employment, business and other ventures to help the growth of the Ghanaian Economy.

Sometimes some of these things happen as a result of some misguided political elements in our political arena.

Ibrahim Mahama is a world recognized Independent Contractor, but when he got a small contract to execute a national assignment, his innocent brother, John Dramani Mahama was vilified, vituperated, chastized and they delibrately contrived and orchestrated a story to subject the former President to international opprobrium.

This attitude was fueled by some elements in your government and it was very unfortunate.

Another fundamental problem has to do with the fact that as a country, we don't add value to our raw materials like cocoa.

Instead, we export them at their raw state for the 'predators' who sit in giant and board rooms of multi-national companies in the Colonial Metropolis to exploit them into finished goods and export them back for us to buy at exorbitant prices.

How can we as a country survive this paradigm?
I think we should fund our local industries to take up the mantle to add value to our raw matetials to help boost our economy. This will also provide jobs (permanent/casual).

For example I challenge you to go to CRIG in Akyem Tafo in the Eastern Region and see for yourself the wonderful things they are doing with our cocoa beans.

They are producing for instance;
1. brandy
2. gins
3. soap(Alata samina, Azuma blows, Perfume soaps)
4. cocoa cream
5. perfumes
6. pomade
7. parazone
8. herbicides and insecticides and among others.
Sir, if your government gives them the needed support and funding, I promise you that you will not be talking about retrenchment today.

Thanks to our former President, John Dramani Mahama, who found expression and inspiration from Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to revive most of our industries and established more.

John Mahama, we say a big AYEKOO, but like Oliver Twist, we are asking for more from your boss, H.E Nana Addo, but unfortunately, *no show*.

Sir, there are a lot more to talk about, but for the purpose of this article, I leave it here.

CONCLUSION
In the final analysis, if you don't get up from your comfort zone to find a robust solution to the problem and instead, espousing retrenchment in the public space, that will unfortunately be the six inch nail which crosses our coffins and send us to our grave as a people.

However, if you are able to take all these into consideration and address these fundamental challenges, trust me, we will make a headway and our national economy will be something to write home about.

This is my submission, thank you!!!
© OSUMANU ABUBAKAR.
© All Rights Reserved!!!
© 0242782515

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Osumanu Abubakar and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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