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12.08.2005 Business & Finance

NPP Private Sector Programme Slammed

Ghanaian Chronicle

The policy of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for the private sector development, which has been tagged as "the engine of growth" for Ghana's economy, has come under serious attack by an unknown Convention People's Party (CPP) activist.

Prof. Y. A. Nuama Akyeampong, a former lecturer of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has described the policy as mere rhetoric, slogan shouting and public relation gimmick to impress the good people of Ghana.

He believes the current situation does not reflect the "talks" of the ruling government, having failed in its bid to create the enabling environment for new local entrepreneurs, to set up their own private ventures after school.

According to him, due to the unavailability of venture capital and inheritance capacity for young entrepreneurs in the economy of Ghana, it is very difficult for one to set up his own business.

"The capital outlay is not there, let alone the working capital to run the enterprise,"the learned Professor fumed in an interview with The Chronicle in Kumasi.

He again pointed out that Ghana's economy is devoid of retained earnings simply because the only companies that make huge sums of profits in the country are owned by foreign investors who quickly multiply their incomes just to repatriate the amounts abroad.

Prof. Akyeampong mentioned the private commercial banks and the saw-mills in particular as companies owned by foreigners who make high marginal profits.

He added that Ghanaian ownership in these companies has been relegated to the background and to say the least, "this is a minimal pittance of being frontiers of private establishments."

He called on government to let the ownership of private companies be Ghanaian in content and operation and stop dishing out most of the country's contracts to foreign companies, which do not retain their earnings in the economy.

"How do you create wealth for the country when the local people (Ghanaians) are not party to it?" the Professor asked, and continued that there were lots of impediments in the way of Ghana's economic growth. He questioned the whereabouts of the various grants given to the sector Ministry and wondered how they were used.

Using the commercial banks as a hypothetical case, he accused the NPP government of attempting to sell the country to foreigners who turn to overburden the poor Ghanaian with their rate charges.

Prof. Akyeampong, in another breath, criticised the Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) as having contributed to the plight of cocoa farmers in the country.

According to him, if the CMB had played its promotional role and accepted a consultancy fee not exceeding 4%, which is its real earning capacity, children of the cocoa farmers would have returned from the country's universities to float shares to establish cocoa processing factories, thereby using the cocoa beans as the input raw materials.

"And ownership and dividends will be indigenous in the farming sector," he emphatically stated and added that the sales capital thus generated would also propel Ghana's per capital income beyond the middle income bracket.

"Therefore, let me state with certainty that the present government's vision of sending the national economy into the middle income bracket is a mirage," said the Professor.