An Open Letter To The President, His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-addo -2017
Dear Mr. President,
It is with heartfelt joy that I write to congratulate you, Mr. President, His Excellency, Nana Akufo-Addo, fourth democratically elected President of the fourth Republic of Ghana. I have followed your course and dedication to public service since your first attempt in 2008 and throughout your campaigns till your election to office in 2016. Your election to the presidency is a rebirth of hope, a hope for change, a hope which affirms the aspiration and hunger of the Ghanaian people to turn the country around from its lost course of mismanagement, corruption and poverty, to one of growth, improved development and economic prosperity. I share in the joy that the future is bright.
In your inaugural speech on January 7, 2017, you called upon Ghanaians to be participatory citizens, not just by votes or as subjects, but to participate in the building of communities and the nation even in their own small way. You called upon the private sector to create businesses and promised that law and order, fairness and fiscal discipline shall be the mettle of your administration. I speak for all Ghanaians to say, we are enthused and pledge our full support for your administration.
Indeed the private sector thrives best in the atmosphere of; 1. Law and order, 2. Good infrastructure, 3.
Energy, 4. Clean water & Sewage systems, 5. Access to capital, 6. Good healthcare and of course 7. Skilled workforce. But apart from some elements of the latter, all the above listed are short in supply. It is our hope that your government will make law and order a priority; not only of individuals but within our institutions; the police force, the law courtrooms, promoting good corporate laws and compliance devoid of red tape, corruption and cronyism. Constitutional rule and democracy will never survive if we have the chiefs and local ruler making their own rules. Chieftaincy needs to be reformed and made relevant in the 21st century. Tribal and folk laws which are non-constitutional, violations of human rights and of superstitious traditional laws must be outlawed. If the chiefs are “symbolic romantic renaissance” of our history when we had no constitutional rule, we move your legislative branch to acknowledge as such. If they are elements of the democratic government for nation building, then your government should make them electable and accountable. We shall ask your government to reevaluate the socioeconomic and political worth of the chiefs in today’s democratic constitutional Ghana.
As a businessman, I see these road blocks: our infrastructure; the road network. As much as we see some improvements, most of our roads are of poor quality filled with potholes. A business journey that should take an hour takes over four hours, in some cases even more. This is not good for business. Energy is the life blood for any sustainable economy. Businesses have failed because of the energy problems. The Ghana electric board operates a monopoly of poor service and higher prices. The electric grid system is archaic, combined with Dumsor is a toxic mix for business. The sewage system is terrible throughout the country. Our land tenure needs reform and regulations that allow the foreign countries, the Chinese and Chiefs to destroy the environment ceased. We need strong enforceable Environmental Health and safety policies to ensure clean air and water & sewage systems. Access to capital is another big hindrance to business and private sector creativity. The banks and micro finance services need reform. The average interest rate in Ghana for a bank loan is nearly 30%. We believe our vice President, Bahamudu Bawumia, an economist understands so well that such higher interest rates cannot stimulate the economy.
Healthcare is a prime area. We call it “Wealthcare”, because a healthy nation is a healthy economy. In Ghana today were most things are still manual, the need for one’s physical fitness is even more important. Our hospitals are underfunded, facilities are lacking and the support for healthcare worker’s continuous training and education lacking. This is not good for business if employee cannot rely on healthy workforce. Brain drain comes about not because Ghanaian citizens are non-patriotic, but because of lack of conducive business environments and employment to retain them.
For education, our major universities, polytechnics and training colleges in the country turn out over a million qualified professionals each year. About three quarters of the graduates are either unemployable or unemployed. The standards in most of the schools fall short. Most of the schools are not equipped with the labs and facilities commensurate with the electronic age of the millennium to make them successful. It is our humble view that, free education for all is not the answer, not at the time when the health service is underfunded, infrastructure inadequate and our senior citizens and public sector workers sometimes go without pay. Let’s make the existing institutions stronger, modernized and refurbished for quality education with improved penetration of the internet and wireless services than to produce sub-standard education.
Finally, Mr. President, we hope you realize that without your close scrutiny of your cabinet, actively holding people responsible and accountable of their deliverables you will fail. Your inaugural speech should be a rude awakening to how vigilant you ought to be. I suspect you fully trusted the speech writers and those around you but did not verify. This sent some ripple waves of embarrassment to the international community. This can easily undermine your conviction; the little foxes. Mr. President, trust but verify! Hold your cabinet accountable. God Bless you and God Bless Mother Ghana!
DR. GEORGE OTENG-ATTAKORA