216 FACTORIES, THE CRITICAL ASSESSMENT- ASK
It might appear as if the practice of politics cannot be done on the basis of ethics. Ethics are those things that measure the rightness or wrongness of an action, the basis upon which one can classify an act as either ethical or unethical.
In the practice of the media, determining ethics is guided by philosophical grounds identified by the likes of Aristotle in his Golden Mean, Kant in his Categorical Imperative as well as the Communitarians among others.
In measuring ethics in that category, some are with the belief that acts must be used to determine whether an individual acted ethically or not. To others, you cannot determine the ethical nature of an action without considering whether the individual from whom an act emanate, is ethical or not.
To put it in another way, for some, ethical consideration can be given to actions because an unethical being can exert ethical acts. To others, there is no way an unethical person would do what is ethical.
This is what is expressly missing in politics perhaps in Africa if not the world. In assessing the ethical political nature of a politician, one must equally understand the ideologies that underpin the activities of the individuals.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) is a capitalist party. Capitalism as an ideology, does not encourage the practice where the state would own the production sectors of an economy. In short, to the capitalists, the state has no business doing business. In establishing their ideological incumbrances, they state that, the private sector is the engine of growth.
The NPP did not just arrive on earth and in Ghana in particular, today. Its antecedent United Party (UP) toppled an administration under Kwame Nkrumah which was using the state to do business.
In establishing the business nature of the state, a Jute factory was established to produce jute sacks that were to be used in packaging our cocoa beans for export. In addition, a Cattle Ranch was established in the Northern Region where cattle are reared to feed the Kumasi Shoe Factory.
That was not all, the Komenda enclave as well the Asutware enclave was identified to be fertile for sugar cane plantation hence the establishment of the Komenda and Asutware sugar factories.
Ghana, prior to the coming of the UP tradition, was manufacturing radio sets among others. As a matter of fact, over 400 factories and industries were established and remained operational.
The services sector was not left out. The state owned Ghana Telecom was established to take strategic hold of the telecommunications sector of the economy.
All these strategic national assets as well as factories were converted into private hands and deliberate collapsed, except a few.
In pursuing the profit bluff of the capitalists, it became easier for the capitalists who had taken hold of the state to collapse the state owned industries that were manufacturing albeit a bit higher, for easy imports that were cheaper.
Unable to stand for competition, the state industries wounded up and had grounded our economy to what we see today. This was not by accident. This is an ideological operation; an ideology in which the flagbearer of the NPP is rooted.
It must be established equally, that, the promise was that, a future NPP government under Akufo-Addo would establish one factory per district culminating into some 216 factories in four (4) years. In all of these, no hint was made of private sector participation in this. We can, on the basis of this, state as an afterthought, any explanations subsequent to the promise, to include private sector participation.
What was driven to any listener was that, the government of Ghana under Akufo-Addo would invest government of Ghana money into the establishment of these factories. This does not fall in line with the promise. It is either Akufo-Addo is playing on the minds of the people for votes, or has abandoned the capitalist ideology and had embraced an ideology that encourages the state’s active participation in the production sector.
In interrogating the issues further, we must interrogate certain salient issues. What would be the nature of factories to be established under an Akufo-Addo? How would they operate?
In the wake of the promise to scrap import duties, which would have opened the floodgate for the importation of products similar to what the supposed factories would be producing and even at cheaper costs, how would they compete? It simply doesn’t add up.
Again, having promised that the NPP government will not borrow, where would an Akufo-Addo’s president get the capital to establish these factories since he would equally reduce domestic taxes as he promised?
We have a history to guide us. The NPP had been in power and had made huge promises that never got realised. If today, Honourable Kweku Kwarteng hints that the NPP will start these 216 factories for others to come and continue, I would find it difficult to admit. Since when have the ideologies of the two separate parties merge?
It must be understood that the NPP government under Akufo-Addo would have a 4-year mandate. All promises must be situated within the 4-year mandate. Until the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) is done with its development focus for Ghana, and until all political parties and stakeholders accept and adopt the document, no political party can seek to hoodwink us into believing promises that defeats logic.