In terms of the coming elections, whoever wins must be clear about the challenges they face in managing our economy. The winner and his (no women and this must change) team will have to work hard to meet very high expectations of the electorate. In doing so, what would be the priorities of this team and how would they go about meeting some of these priorities? Below are a few items that may be of high priority:
· Our security issue-both internal and with our neighbors needs great attention. The team will have to stay engaged in both security areas of concern. We cannot afford to and we cannot take anything for granted. As a nation, the perception of the problems of the sub-region has a direct impact on our economy.
· A well thought through aggressive infrastructure development aimed at really meeting the requirement of a “Gateway” as proclaimed over the last few years. Like the highways of America, the benefit of infrastructure is obvious and real. The lack of it spells doom.
· Jobs and a true private sector boost, which should actually be looked at from the perspective of increasing local demand for locally produced goods, increasing trade within our partners in the sub region, strengthening the local industries knowledge base and support network, enhancing the capital markets and access to capital for industry, and strengthening laws and oversight of the stock market. These issues dealt with in a clear sense will give some credible boost to the private sector development initiatives.
· Reduction of the size of the civil service. This may not be popular, but take action and let labor move to areas of the economy that can absorb them and utilize them in a productive manner. Also start a program of retraining for new economic order in Ghana, for displaced workers.
· The marketing of Ghana either as a tourist destination or business destination should take a new dimension. Learn from South Africa in terms of their external and internal marketing situations, as one continues to see the country being marketed aggressively in magazines such as the economist and other high esteemed publications. We must really look at our neighbors and what we have as an edge over them and leverage this to our advantage. The globe- trotting begging marathon has gone as far as it can go, and we do not need to look at foreign investment, only as coming from the West. We need to develop trade with our African countries, and more South-to-South cooperation, that is quite sustainable and within reach. Also our marketing efforts should take a bi-lingual approach of French and English, almost immediately. This will provide extra mileage for the effort.
· The health system must be tweaked so people are secure in terms of feeling confident about being taken care off when they are most venerable. The whole sector must evaluate its' position with respect to how it wishes to keep whatever remaining staff it has. Demand and supply must actually create better conditions for the staff that stays behind and this compensation issue must be fixed as a matter of urgency, to restore the morale of those who have not left and probably help stem some future migration.
· The issue with education too must be corrected and some attention paid to teachers. Their conditions of service must be reflecting of the times and also what their contribution means in terms of our overall development agenda. Our institutions and what they offer as education must also be looked at and made to suit our current needs in terms of manpower and must be in line with the development agenda of our nation. Education for us cannot be an isolated thing and cannot also be of utility to the nation, unless it translates into economic results for us.
In short, winning the election will be the easy part. Keeping the electorate happy and actually satisfying them will be another. If the mindset is simply to win an election then there are big problems ahead. The unrealistic propaganda, carried across all quarters of the political landscape, only will make the expectations and discontent worse if the winner fails to deliver.
Last but not least, let this government seriously attack corruption, and also come on board with really qualified individuals with the right job experience and practical experience to actually perform in a manner that is obvious and easy to assess and validate.
Good luck to all the parties and may we all in Ghana agree that regardless of who wins the election, every Ghanaian and all the various political parties are winners. We have all contributed to our democracy by being whom and what we are. We can only be successful when we know the extent to which we need to let politics consume our lives. Development is what we need. Politics is simply a way to get there but it does not define whom we are. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.