Dear Mr. President,
Ghana Beyond Aid: My Recommendations To Walk the Talk
“Ghana Beyond Aid” is a vision put forth by your Administration. You have articulated this forcefully and pushed it in presentations to Ghanaian citizens. You have also stood your ground on this with foreign leaders particularly those from the western divide of global governance. Many have hailed it and bought into it as a very necessary agenda.
Recently though, the vision seems to be fading and does not find expression in formal presentations such as the budget and your own speeches at home and abroad. It is time to light some fire under this vision and make it real.
To begin with, I support this vision for Ghana because it will promote self-reliance that would lead to greater prosperity of our citizens.
I am a supporter of “Ghana Beyond Aid” without reservations.
My concern is that this vision may become a mere slogan. Over the years, Ghanaians have heard “the private sector is the engine of growth” with no fuel to make the engine move for the benefit of the people. They have been presented with “Zero Tolerance for Corruption” and “Probity, Accountability, Transparency” and yet corruption is seen by citizens as the main barrier to their well-being. Many leaders, in business and politics have put out their versions of “Ghana First” visions yet there is no common agenda to work with to make it come alive.
When the late General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong championed the Ghanaian ownership of the commanding heights of the economy, it spawned concrete actions that are still delivering benefits to the state and its people. “Operation Feed Yourself” was and remains a popular policy from the Acheampong era.
Given where we are, the following are actions I highly recommend for you to consider implementing to push the “Ghana Beyond Aid” vision.
All infrastructure contracts signed by the state must have a minimum 25% of value go to an indigenous Ghanaian and his/her enterprise.
All Cocoa roads and projects funded by COCOBOD must be given to indigenous Ghanaians and their companies.
Ban completely, the importation of chocolate, soft drinks, fruit juices, fruits, poultry and meats.
Ban the importation of rice and sugar.
Immediately ban the serving of any imported food or drink at all state functions.
School feeding programmes must only use locally produced food and drinks.
Take firm steps to ensure indigenous Ghanaian control (ownership) of the financial sector – banking, insurance, investment, pension and others at all levels.
All professional services agreements – architectural, technology, financial etc., must have at least 25% indigenous Ghanaian participation.
All new and renewed concessions for gold, bauxite, oil and gas, diamond, timber must have a minimum of 25% indigenous Ghana ownership.
The digitalization agenda must be placed firmly, 100% in the hands of indigenous Ghanaians and their companies.
Give full rights and recognition to Ghanaians who by necessity have become citizens of other countries – to vote, be employed by the state and compete for elective offices.
Will this hurt? Initially, yes. But eventually, we will be a better country, one whose citizens can aspire to prosperity with confidence.
I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the recommendations further.
Presented, Your Excellency, for your consideration.
Papa Kwesi Nduom.