BUILDING A NATION: Of Equalization, Fallacy and Ghana’s Underdevelopment

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More effort needed to address underdevelopment in the country

So all of a sudden, we are told about the Peduase Lodge. It was a gift given to the first President of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, by the Contractor who constructed the Tema Harbor. This apparently therefore justifies the Ford Expedition gift presented to President Mahama.

I am not interested in who took what and whether it was a gift or not. My interest is: how do we deal with issues in this country? Too often, our quest to equalize leads to situations where substantive issues are ignored. And this is the bane of our country’s development. It is a fallacy. In fact, it’s a YOU TOO FALLACY. Beyond the politics, where lies the interest of the country?

Let’s just look at the Komenda Sugar Factory. The main focus of the discussion has been: is the factory shut down or not? Though this is important, how does it address the pertinent issues about the factory?

For instance, how much credit is required to run the sugar factory until it begins to produce enough revenue to operate without government assistance? Already $35million was used for the construction of the factory and an additional $24million to establish an out grower farm. Do we know how much that will cost? What are we doing to ensure that the company does not suffer its earlier fate? But you see we are not discussing these issues. We are only focused on trivial matters. That is not how you build a nation. Certainly not.

Finally on the Sugar Factory, raw materials are crucial. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Ghana’s total sugar cane production annually is 147,000 tonnes. Meanwhile,  the sugar factory needs 225,000 to produce at full capacity. What are we doing to ensure that this is achieved? This is definitely something that should be discussed. But of course you can trust us to politicize it.

And once we do that the pertinent issues are lost. I have also been following the comments after the Flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party Nana Akufo-Addo announced he would establish 1 factory in each of the 216 districts of Ghana. Many have raised this question: how much will that cost the state?

Come to think of it, what happened to government’s role of creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive? Do we need government to commit state funds to construct factories when you can get the private sector to do so? What happened to the creation of growth poles? What happened to deliberate policies by government to ensure that individuals are able to succeed by creating thriving businesses and not face competition from government? So you see how we are belittling the discussion. We are focused on the trivial.

In building a nation, the focus should be on development and not on politicization of issues concerning development. No country develops without a national interest. Beyond the politics, where lies the interest of Ghana? Let us put our country first and nothing else.

By Winston Amoah

The writer is the host of ‘Sunrise’ on 3FM Monday – Friday 6am – 10am

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