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11.05.2009 Feature Article

What is the state of the 'Ekomini', 'Ekomdimi'?

What is the state of the 'Ekomini', 'Ekomdimi'?

It is said that in the political days of yore, I mean during the reign of the CPP, a very important event took place in this country. The Chinese government had funded a project in the country to its completion and the President of the Republic, Dr. Nkrumah was billed to inaugurate the project.

As it is expected with such functions, the sector Minister was there, party functionaries in their paraphernelia shouting 'yea yea', our revered traditional authorities and all. The Chinese Ambassador in Ghana was also there to represent his country.

The programme began and got to the turn of the Chinese Ambassador to read his address. Those were the days when one dared not call the name of the President without prefacing it with OSAGYEFO.

The Chinese Ambassador was invited by the Master of Ceremony to deliver his address. In addressing the President, the Chinese Ambassador started, thus, 'Osigyefo', then the audience started murmuring, so he changed the pronounciation to 'Ogasifo'.

The audience once again did not approve of it. He changed again to 'Ogyesifo', Ofogyesi and Ogyefosi until he was stopped.

You can pardon him because of his background, moving from Chinese to English and now to Akan.

When President J.E.A Mills, in presenting his state of the nation address confused the world and himself with such a simple word ECONOMY, with 'ekominy', ekomdimi etc., I told myself that this 'ekomdimi' is going to be in trouble.

Indeed, the trouble with the 'ekominy' began when some top echelons of the NDC could not differentiate between an 'ekomdimi' which is broke and that which is challenged. Instead of working hard at the economy, the 'ekominists' decided to play the blame game.

In eight years of NPP rule, more than 17 foreign commercial banks moved to and operated in this country. Ordinary workers were being chased up by the banks to be offered loans.

Within the eight years of NDC (1), two major Banks in Ghana closed down. Do you need to be reminded?

Bank for Housing and Construction and the Cooperative Bank. Indeed, banks like Barclays and Standard Chartered closed down their operations in many towns in the country at the time. Ghanaians started using their monies for productive economic activities because the BOG Treasury bill rates were unattractive.

However, it fell to 9% under the NPP. Many young Ghanaians secured loans and built houses or purchased vehicles.

Today, the banks are not ready to give out loans to individuals or businesses because they are waiting for the Government to borrow from them. Even when the banks lend out monies, the interest rate is between 31-33% with the BOG 90-day Treasury Bills standing at 22%, from 9%.

The last year of the NPP administration recorded a GDP growth of 7.3%, the highest in so many years in Ghana. The NPP inherited a national debt which was 198.3% of our national income.

What it meant was that if you put all our indebtedness as a nation into one basket, and all our income as a nation into another basket, we needed two baskets of the national income to pay off our debts. By the time the NPP left office, our national debt was 52% of our total national income.

Once again, if we put our total national indebtedness into one basket and the national income into another, we will be able to pay off all our indebtedness and have 48% of the income to 'chill'. That is the 'ekomini' left behind, not too good though but far better than that of the NDC (1).

We are not in the best of times. The nation has changed to move backwards, if you doubt that, check prices on the market and the sliding cedi to other currencies.

Credit: Kwesi Biney
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Kwesi Biney
Kwesi Biney, © 2009

This author has authored 89 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwesiBiney

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