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12.04.2005 Press Review

EDITORIAL: We Are the Solution to Our Own Problems

By Ghanaian Chronicle

At 48-years and still unsure of where we are headed, it is obvious that we need to do more serious thinking than we have hitherto done, if we want to move away from this unending cycle of trial and errors in solving our problems.

We have been groping for so long, succumbing to the directives of the International Monetary Fund (Fund) and the World Bank (Bank), because we have lacked the courage and belief in ourselves to take decisions and stick to them.

We should be more familiar with our turf and prevailing conditions than any other persons who periodically journey this way to find out what is wrong with us.

Quite often, we have allowed journeymen to come and ask us what our problems are, and after we have told them, they charge us for diagnosing our problems, as consultants, and end up administering their usual one-size-fit-all palliatives. They end up drafting letters of intents (LOIs) for us to sign and we triumphantly proclaim to the world that we have clinched deals with 'our development partners,' which only implied commitment to squeezing our people a little more, to end their sufferings!

We have always resorted to a state of denial as a means of running away from confronting our problems. What we need to do is recognize the problems for what they are, and be determined to deal with them with the benefit of our past experiences. Palliatives don't solve problems!

After several years of these round-robin measures, we still have not had the courage to pursue what our various governments have identified as a bedrock to our accelerated development - setting up industries, especially agro-based manufacturing ones, to not only offer reliable market to our farmers, but also increase their earnings to enable them expand production. The subsequent increased employment avenues that would be created, is just a matter of course.

So far, over the past few years, we have been operating in an environment of 'controlled' inflation, and this has been aided by the fact that our major export commodities, gold and cocoa, have been doing very well in terms of pricing. But, we must not forget that even these prices are not within our control.

In the absence of any adequate production base, for some of the few industries that we have are winding up, any major slump in the prices of these commodities would likely send us into a state worse than the situation in which we christened ourselves HIPC!

This week, 10-16 April 2005 has been set aside as 'Global Week of Action for Trade Justice,' by international campaigners for fair trade, to draw attention to the unjust world trade order, and draw the attention of key decision-makers to do more to improve on the living standards of all people of the world.

The call is therefore going out to governments, institutions, and multinationals to re-examine aspects of their operations that perpetuate poverty.

Whereas we would want to play the gentleman, by being committed to agreements we sign with the Fund, the Bank, and other donor agencies, we must not hesitate to let these institutions know when their yoke is becoming burdensome for our people.

Feedback, is very crucial for the successful implementation of all policies and programmes. Government must therefore give our benefactors the necessary feedback, so they may loosen their stranglehold on us!

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