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12.07.2005 Feature Article

A Want We Don’t Need And A Need We Don’t Get.

By Sir Jay
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I have been wondering for some time now over the type of investments flowing to Ghana now, and keep asking myself, what is going on? Are we so hungry for investments so much so, that we allow any stupid investment that has both short and long term negative benefits to our country? Do we need all the investments we seem to want? And do we get the investments we need as a nation? The fundamental aim of the Kuffour's government is to lift Ghanaians out of poverty by providing them with jobs, yes, as good as this may sound, we mustn't loose sight of the fact that this is the objective of every government in the whole world. Governments that endorse their private companies to invest in another country do so with the hope that such investments will benefit their domestic economies and create jobs in the long run in their own economies. So George Bush will tell you that outsourcing is good for America eventhough initially such a practice leads to job loses in America.

What is the rationale behind Bush's conviction; According to “Bushenomics” outsourcing leads to lower production cost and hence huge profits for American companies which could and often is invested in other areas of the American economy to create another type of job to replace the lost job that resulted from the initial outsourced production. Secondly, it has a political dimension to it; the economies of the host countries of the outsourced jobs become dependent on American companies and subservient to them and their influences. A cut back in production send shivering waves through the corridors of power in these often times third world countries that depend on such companies for jobs for their people.

Considering the types of investments going on in Ghana now, minimal jobs are created but the political consequence is huge and poses a tremendous danger for the future health of the political economy of Ghana if the situation is not arrested now.

Foreign banks and insurance companies are opening up businesses in Ghana at a fast rate, Our important national assets have either been sold or are in the process of being sold to foreign investors at record levels under what is called divestiture of state owned assets. All these seem good in the surface but when examined critically, Ghana is the ultimate looser and in the end more resources will be transferred from Ghana than were brought in by these foreign investors. We need to ask ourselves, How much money did Telecom Malaysia bring to Ghana initially and how much did they take out? You find out yourself.

How many jobs are the new banks and insurance companies creating in Ghana now? Maybe few hundreds, but in the end they will repatriate huge profits in hard currencies to their home countries to open up another business. So in this vein, Ghana then becomes a cash cow for them. How come that we do not have investors opening factories to process our numerous agricultural produce to create well meaning jobs for factory workers as well as for farmers? Could it be because the benefits of such an investment to Ghana will be huge considering all the forward and backward linkages? Well, isn't that the type of investments we need to lift Ghana's economy up? Why are we not getting those types of investments but rather investments in the service and financial sectors that by their nature create fewer middle class jobs.

Do we need more than ten banks in Ghana to mobilize savings from the non-existing surpluses? I am afraid not. Do we need foreign companies to insure our cars in Ghana? Something that local companies can do effectively? Lastly, why are we selling all our strategic assets to foreigners? Are we not surrendering our sovereignty to them? Let us all rethink this policy of divestiture and know whom to divest our assets for the betterment of Ghana. I believe in privatization and divesture of the non-performing state companies, but I also believe that when Ghanaians have the capability to buy or even manage the already established state companies for a share of the profit, they should be given the priority above all other considerations. After all the assets are for Ghanaians. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Sir Jay
Sir Jay, © 2005

The author has 1 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: SirJay

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