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03.10.2002 Feature Article

OUR ECONOMIC WOES ---self made or destiny

OUR ECONOMIC WOES ---self made or destiny
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I do not know a lot about pre-independent Ghana, but from what I have read and heard there is a general feeling that everything was fine in those years economically. After independence our first President introduced vigorous reforms. He created a lot of government owned corporations, some of which we are divesting now. The workers brigades were used in the farmlands, work and happiness became the slogan at the time. Critics argue that he used some of our hard currency to champion his cause for Africa unity. They are of the view that, had he been more focused on our internal problems our dear country could have been a Malaysia or Korea. The National Liberation Council that overthrew Nkrumahs government did put up a freeze on most of his ideas and projects setting the clock of progress back. The Progress Party took over from the N. L. C. Busia devalued the cedi and established cottage industries. The devaluation which like all IMF sponsored programs brought untold hardships on the people. Busia pleaded with the people to tighten their belts for two years after which the results will show. Ghanaians were not ready for that kind of rhetoric's. Another military opportunist took advantage and staged our second coup. Acheampongs reign brought into being Kalabule and bottom power. Cost of living soared. Finding essential stuffs for our day to day living became a problem. Hoarding was the order of the day. He tried unsuccessfully to establish a new form of government (union government).His own people got rid of him and the SMC (2) was born. Theirs was a comedy of errors and bad decisions. The least talked about them the better. The AFRC took over in 1979. They executed the former military leaders who were accused of corruption, did a house cleaning exercise before handing over to the Limann administration. The Limann government lacked focus and hardly settled down before they were booted out of office. Then came the P(NDC), which initially opted for socialism. After some trial and errors they embraced the IMF and World Bank sponsored programs. First the ERP, then the SAP. These programs despite the many praises from all quarters left the ordinary Ghanaian poorer and miserable. From the aforementioned events in our country since independence critics lay our present problems on the military. They are accused of cutting short the visions of our elected leaders and what we got back is corruption and lack of freedom and expression. It is also said that democracy and freedom are the bedrock of economic advancement. Some commentators also put the blame on the average Ghanaian. They say that the Ghanaian by nature is greedy, lack initiative and unwilling to take risks. Our cultural practices and social lifestyles are detrimental to development. Tribalism is also cited one of the major hindrances to our development as a nation. Tribalism breeds distrust among fellow countrymen. Having laid down all the facts that goes to prove that our problems are self made, I would like to hit on the destiny factor. The argument is that the suffering of the black race borders on destiny. The biggest question is, how come not even a single black nation is able to get out of their economic woes. Most of the Arab countries are what they are because of oil. We have black countries that have oil but still struggling. Most of these Arab leaders are dictators just like ours. Their regimes are more suppressive, they have a lot of unrest's and are constantly in war, but still doing fine economically. Some of the North African countries do not have oil, part of their lands are desert but still prospering. Haiti which is one of the poorest countries in the world is just around the corner from the US. Jamaica, Haiti and Belize are islands just like Cuba, but the difference is there for everybody to see. The more I think about China and India being able to feed their people (about a quater of the worlds population), survive economically and are capable of even making nuclear weapons the more I lean towards the destiny option. What do you think?

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