During the past few decades, Ghana has experienced an exponential growth in population without equal growth in infrastructure. The unemployment population is large and growing. To reverse this trend the government of President Mills has to re-establish GIHOC, (Ghana Industrial Holding Company).
I have in a previous article posted on Ghanaweb.com on July 31, 2005 entitled “Ghana must build Industrial Parks” called for private companies to build these parks. Perhaps there are various schools of thought that will view this as socialist policy. Most capitalist say the private sector should be the engine of growth. Now we know that capitalism has failed miserably everywhere especially in the USA. Please refer to a study by NAM, National Association of Manufacturers in US titled “Securing America's Future: The case for a strong Manufacturing Base”, at www.nam.org.
In my search for manufacturing space, I have found thousands of empty industrial buildings littered across the country. The companies have closed down, moved to China or wherever they could get cheap labor and maximize their profits. In the wake of these they have left these buildings and unemployment here in the US. Please refer to www.georgiaallies.com, or visit the Economic development department of any state and check for available buildings. There is no remedy in sight as the previous owners are not coming back to pay for the higher overhead costs associated with manufacturing in the US. Even cat food is made in China.
The government under President Kuffour established PSI, including the Ayensu Starch Factory to process cassava, but wasn't successful with them because The Golden Age of Business focused on import of everything including toothpick. There have been successful and profitable government established companies, e.g. Ghana Commercial Bank. So the notion of past unprofitable government owned companies should be discarded. There are a lot of Ghanaian professionals in the databanks of our embassies worldwide who can introduce their acquired experience to manage any company that is established. We could establish government/private/workers owned companies and have the ability to remove the managers if they don't reach their set target in the business plan. We should also look at the reasons why most of these companies failed and learn how to change them. The Chinese have been successful and I believe we can do better. Perhaps the government needs to set up Rural Industrial Development Banks, the same way The Agricultural Development Bank was set up to help farmers. If there are companies like the Venture Capital Fund already in existence, are they funding industries or trade? Are the Rural Banks financing funerals for a quick return on their investments or helping to establish industries?
I have been following with keen interest the Gratis Foundation and I believe it should be fully expanded and resourced with engineers and artisans backed by adequate financing to serve as the engine of our industrial growth.
If the private sector in Ghana had served as the engine of growth, why should the World Bank, which encouraged the privatization of State Owned Enterprises, come back to paint a gloomy picture of our economy? The private sector embarked on import trade, flooding our markets with used clothing, rice, chicken and everything we could produce locally.
It's been written on the web, that you were not eloquent enough with the inaugural address, but I know that action speaks louder than words. That is why the Barack Obama style of door to door canvassing worked better for him and for you. So if you want to leave a legacy for Ghana, please re-establish a new GIHOC whose modernized manufacturing units will produce all we need. This you should do as a matter of urgency.
God Bless you, Ghana and GOD BLESS AFRICA.
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