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15.10.2014 Feature Article

Can The Next Government Guarantee Economic Prosperity?

Can The Next Government Guarantee Economic Prosperity?

If you are a youth and know little about governance I believe this question might have crossed your mind in your quest of battling the harsh current economic conditions in the Country. "Can the next government guarantee Ghanaians an economic prosperity? Or better put can things ever get better even if there is a change in government? In as much as I believe answer to this question will help clear doubt in the minds of first time voters, it will also help enlighten you on the dynamics of political governance of a sovereign nation like ours.

Many years ago about 80% to 95% of nations making the world had at a point decided to live under a democratic governance system where the people elect their representatives in making decisions as to how to be govern. The system gave rise to electing a head of state also called the President. Not to border you with the responsibilities of the president, in short the president is the head of the nation. In fact the nation either does or undo base on the president orders, the president is the only person mandated by law to make decisions for the nation. It is of this principle that the president holds it a duty of creating an atmosphere conducive for human living and their activities.

Governments come and go but the economy has always remained same. Both past and present governments have always tried to create a better economy but the question still remains; has a government been able to create a better economy than others?

Many have argued it is impossible to measure the success or failures of a government since every government at a point do something either tangible or intangible. But a critical analysis from Steven Kelman and Jeff Myers of Harvard Kennedy School wrote in their paper; "Successfully Executing Ambitious Strategies in Government: An Empirical Analysis, that in fact it is possible to measure the success or failure of a government by comparing it to a control (other governments successes) mechanism.

It is of this regard that the successes of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah have always been used as a benchmark in measuring other government's successes. Again the successes of a government can also be known looking at its economy and the living standard among the citizenry. Well even though I believe governments could play politics or propaganda with some of these economic variables, the status quo still remains unchanged which is the living standard among the people.

Again, there have been several schools of thought as to who develops the nation, the government or its citizens? Well, in as much as I believe it is the responsibility of both, I strongly believe the government has much responsibilities of developing the nation. It is the responsibility of the citizens to work hard and pay their taxes as require of them. But before that, they rely so much on the kind of environment the government creates for them. The citizens have nothing to do in terms of high cost of living, high fuel prices, high inflation, high exchange rates, fluctuations in electricity supply, bad roads, and all other micro and macro-economic variables that exist in the economy. It is the responsibility of government to get the foundation right so as to create a platform for the citizens to build the nation upon. Under Ghana's political governance system, every government has four years of constitutionally mandated period to put things in order.

Work of a Government
Of the various economic variables that determine the success or failure of an economy all are operated under the wheels of policies or decisions. For instance, the government of Ghana through the central bank hurriedly made policies or decisions in the use of foreign currency especially the US Dollar when the local currency (Ghc) had taken a deep dive of depreciating against other foreign currencies. The rationale was that, in order to arrest the depreciating cedi it was not about engaging men of God to pray for the resurrection of the currency neither a work that required the strength of Sampson. It was all about decision or policy.

Government and Policy
A government policy can be described as any course of action which intends to create or change a certain situation. Government uses policy to tackle a wide range of issues. In fact, it can make policies that could change how much tax you pay, parking fines, immigration laws and pensions. Policies or decisions determine the success or failure of every government. If a government makes bad policies or decisions it will get bad results, there is no two ways about this. It is just like the law of reciprocity, you reap what you sow.

It is of no news any more to learn about the deteriorating state of the Ghanaian economy in these past years. Result of this has necessitated an IMF bailout. Government has continuously attributed the deteriorating state of the economy to so many factors with some going as far as attributing it to "dwarfs" and as "signs of end time". But can't anything be done to it as government claims to know the cause of the bad economy? Of course something can be done about it. Managing an economy is not about rocket science, it's all about realities. These realities are based on the decision the government makes bearing in mind every policy or decision has consequences. This is why decision making is one of the major tool in determining the success or failure of a government.

Under this current NDC government, many are the decisions and policies of government that has been left for questioning as to why such decisions were taken. Ghana became a nation of jokers when the government had to airlift an amount of US$4.5Million to pay the appearance fees of its senior national football team in Brazil. It was a matter of great shock when the arrival of the plane carrying the money was telecasted live on both local and international televisions all over the world. The question on the lips of people was why that decision?

Take a pen and a paper and list the number of natural resources America has and do same for Ghana. You will realize Ghana is far blessed than America in terms of these natural resources but the two are simply incomparable in terms of its economic wellbeing. America's resources are the kind of decisions or policies they make at any given time. But why do they get the best in their decisions but we Ghanaians fail in most of the decisions we make? This is simply; who or which group of persons makes that decision at that particular time and on what purpose.

Bad Parliament Bad Decisions
Apart from those decisions the executive arm of government makes which is often not privy to the general public, the legislature or the constitution of parliament is one factor that ought to be blame for government's bad policy or decision. Often times we hear separation of powers but in practice there is nothing called separation of these arms of government. The executive control the other arms of government. It is sad to know that parliament which praises itself of being independent of the other arms of government is in fact liable to the executive. More than half of our parliamentarians are solicitors or sympathizers of the executive where the President elect emanate from. How on earth do you think these members of parliament not do the president's bidding on issues before parliament? Some of these members are only there to say “yeah yeah” in solidarity to the executive and are ready to say “nor nor” to any suggestion coming from other side of the house without thinking.

Nevertheless, one important point to note is the kind of decision or policy a government make. It is important to note that governments make its decision based on its priorities. The Holy book says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. The government of Ghana under the leadership of President Mahama has his priorities henceforth make decisions or policies in that regard. Meanwhile, happy to know the power of making decision or policy does not lie in the head or mind of just one person or group.

In my candid opinion when it comes to managing this nation president Mahama and the NDC government should not have any excuse whatsoever taking this nation to where it should be. President Mahama if my records are right is one of the most experienced and luckiest person to have risen from the rank and file to be the president of the republic. A Civil Servant, a Member of Parliament, Deputy Minister, a Minister, Vice President and now the PRESIDENT couple with over twenty years of NDC's managing this nation. The NDC government and president Mahama simply do not have an excuse!!

It is time for a change! And it is my hope that the next leaders of this nation propel this nation to its economic prosperity!

God bless Ghana! Yes We Can!
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Radson Abraham
Radson Abraham, © 2014

This author has authored 6 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: RadsonAbraham

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