GHANA CANNOT BE DEVELOPED IN A VACUUM
The development of Ghana has taken many dimensional discussions. While some are with the belief that infrastructure is the panacea to development, others have a different view which has not been clearly spelt out.
What remain generally accepted is the fact that a nation cannot develop without hospitals for the citizens to attend when sick, schools to attend for knowledge, factories for those who would come out from the schools to work. In its general sense, jobs cannot be established in a vacuum.
As Ghana prepares for elections this year, many factors come to play. The view of the Ghanaian economy can be taken from different angles. To the farmer far away, he requires good roads for his produce to reach the market for him to earn some income. To the fisherman, he requires outboard motors to work, to the market woman, goods must reach her in a state preferred by consumers. To the engineer, government roads must be awarded to him to make a living, to the graduate, first of all, the schools must be there to attend and jobs must be made available when he completes school.
In all of these, the government of the day is required to meet all the expectations of these various categories of people. At any given time, an action of government must be tailored at meeting the needs of these people.
As a nation, we must consider that our crave for quick development is constrained by the unavailability of resources. Actions of previous governments have committed the current government to pay facilities that have matured and are due for settlement. While at that, new resources must be acquired to address the challenges of today.
This has made the business of governance much tougher for us as a people. Low prices of crude oil on the international market as an oil producing country, low domestic income as a result of inefficiency in our tax system, have all made revenue at the disposal of government insufficient to meet our developmental needs.
Considering the fluctuations in the money market with its attendant interest rate hikes, every serious government would seek to maximize any opportunity at any given time to fund its projects and policies.
Before considering an accelerated development, Ghana has basic infrastructure needs. To what extent can we say we have developed when as a nation we cannot treat basic sicknesses but have to resort to India, China or South Africa to treat? To what extent can we taunt ourselves as having developed when we still have major roads that are riddled with portholes?
To what extent can we say we have developed when we cannot provide structures to educate our people? To what extent can we say we have developed when schools remain under trees, when students from basic schools do not have secondary schools to attend and where teeming students from secondary schools cannot have affordable public universities to attend?
To what extent can we say we have developed when our citizens as of today still share water with cows, have a section even in the cities unable to have access to potable water giving cause to cholera and other avoidable health issues?
To what extent can we say we have developed when even as of today, we have about 25% of our population without electricity and with difficulties in supplying constant power to those who have access? To what extent can we boast of development?
So, with objectivity, for one to measure the performance of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), one cannot fail to position the government’s achievements to the extent it had addressed these challenges of the people of Ghana. Indeed, so long as the administration had not stated it had developed Ghana to the point of the country having no problems, we can begin to situate our discussions and measure the government in this context.
A nation that is said to be making strides must have efficient road transport systems, railway systems as well as air travel systems in place. To this end, the construction of roads to ease transportation is key. We can commend the government for taking giant steps at improving certain major roads. We can also commend government for frantic steps at constructing the Western Corridor Railway line. While at that, one would be apt in demanding that action be expedited on works to enable that dream of cutting goods from North to South much cheaper as compared to road transport.
In the aviation industry, we have seen significant efforts at making Ghana an aviation hub. The expansion of the Kotoka International Airport, and the upgrading of the Tamale Airport to an International Airport is significant. Indeed, we have seen how the intervention at the Tamale Airport had virtually made this country assume that this year, the Kotoka International Airport had not airlifted pilgrims to Mecca for Hajj.
The efforts committed at making the Holy exercise for our Muslim brothers a dignified one had been realised. The congestions and the inconveniences associated with Hajj has become a thing of the past due to efforts by this government.
Today, the Ho Aerodrome is under construction. What this means is that, if one has a business to undertake between the Northern sector and Volta Region, whereas it was the case that the individual would have to land in Accra from Tamale and make the remaining journey to Ho by car, one can fly directly from Tamale to Ho and vice versa when the Ho project is completed.
However, this cannot be complete without the nation actively taking part in the aviation industry to cash in on the opportunities that it presents. Operating a national airline effectively would inure to the benefit of the country. We admire the British Airways, the Nigerian Airline, the American Airline, and so we can equally run a Ghanaian Airline under the government.
The construction of the Eastern Corridor road to shorten travel time from the three Northern regions to Accra is an effort to open up the economic activities of the country. This afford citizens the opportunity to create jobs for themselves and their loved ones.
The efforts by the government to revamp certain strategic industries collapsed and sold out under previous governments is remarkable. As of now, the government of the day has less than 700,000 Ghanaians on its payroll out of a total population of over 25 million. No matter which government is in power, the public sector employment cannot be expanded. It requires government creating the necessary environment for private sector to actively participate to create jobs.
If we do not have facilities such as good roads, good hospitals, good schools, good libraries and other social amenities decentralized but have such facilities concentrated in the cities, private individuals would not be motivated to move and establish at places other than the cities.
That is the context within which we must assess this administration. We must ask if the economy has been opened up for people to be able to advance their interests. We cannot overlook these and expect Ghana to jump from this rate of unemployment to a situation where every graduate would be given employment.