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14.02.2009 Editorial

Let's stop driving out investors through irresponsible talk

By The Ghanaian Observer

Political talk in Ghana is simply becoming irresponsible.
To our average politician, it is no longer issues that need addressing on the political platform, but a game that must be played for its sake - particularly, insofar as it spites and spikes one's political enemy.

So when in the heat of that fever we, for instance, talk about issues that in principle attack the foundations and principles of good corporate governance and international business relations, all we think we are doing is talking politics, we again are simply being irresponsible.

Unfortunately, because we still have an electorate that is largely unlettered and unsophisticated, such talk draws positive response until we come face to face with such acts of irresponsibility.

Is it the case that the cheapest thing to do now is talk irresponsibly just to win elections? Is it the case that because cheap, loose talk pays in the long run, it is worth it? Is it the case that we have, in that regard, no obligation to honour laws and conventions that involve cross border or international investment laws and conventions, relations and development? Is it the case that year in year out; with each change of Government, we must review or throw away agreements signed with foreign investors?

If that is the way we think and act, then we are sending wrong signals to the international business community.

The noise about the Vodafone deal and cheap talk about revising the contract without specifying areas such revisions should be made is like telling the world that in spite of the fine laws we have drafted to have investors comfortably walk through the gates of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, investors should expect the worst when an opposition party eventually took office.

In that vein, we are saying that when one party initiates a national business entity, another party in government next time can, with impunity, disband that national business entity.

Again, if that is the case, we are simply making a clown of ourselves, not only as politicians but also African leaders and governments. And that is very sad!

Laws and conventions are intended to be enduring - with responsible modifications along the way. Acting in fits of political anger and envy can only undo any attempt we have as a government to effectively create employment and investment opportunities intended to grow the economy ultimately.

If those are the kind of noises the ruling Government is making: that is concerns about ordinary reviews, fine; but if not, the sober ones among the ruling government must sit up and remind politicians in the party that, beyond the people of Nima orAshaiman and Odododiodioo, there is a realistic segment of the population that believes Ghana is not an island that creates its own businesses and brews its own investors.

Already, some hawks in the NDC, through their irritable mouthpieces, are also dropping hints about vindictive decisions regarding the Presidential Special Initiatives. That, again, is sad.

GO believes if all governments embark on such initiatives, Ghana's unemployment headache will be cured almost permanently, with successive governments.

Killing initiative and industry, we have learnt since June 4 and December 31st, have not helped us. So would vindictive talk about reviewing agreements.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."