Friday, May 17, 2013

Just one of those Ghanaian Days, & thoughts of private versus public sector in Ghana

I am not entirely sure what a typically-Ghanaian day is like, and I guess I have not been blogging enough to even cogitate about what one is to the point where I explore with potential readers!

Suffice-to-say, it has been one of those days -- in your average West African country that is aspiring to be middle class -- you realise the country is a lot worse off than you imagined.

Don't let the flashy cars and the big houses which a select few seem to be buying confuse you to the reality on the ground: things are hard.

Even for those who are aspirational "middle class" Ghanaians, the complaint is the same. So I cannot begin to imagine those who's income brackets fall outside the latter's group: it must, frankly, be terrifying to be in this country.

Don't get me wrong: I LOVE Ghana, and I would not trade it with any country ever, but I think the State of Ghana is not helping us. 

Never mind provocative-minded breakfast shows, like the CITI 97.3fm one today with Bernard Avle, examining why future leaders after Nkrumah have not lived up to the "African personality" and aspired to the "commanding heights" of Ghanaian industry, the bottom line is that most deep-thinking Ghanaians know what kind of mess Ghana is in.

We have politicians, like Rashid Pelpuo--Minister of State at the Presidency in charge of Public-Private Partnerships-- who can boldly tell us that the Ghanaian industries will not  be protected, and that the Ghana government will "ensure that the public sector is restructured to respond to the needs of the private sector of the economy"

This is as if to say that the private sector is the end-all and be-all. 

Coming from a man who enjoyed public sector education provided by Nkrumah, it is a delicious irony that he should turn his back and propound the private sector as a panacea to the countries' woes. I mean, honestly, what kind of reasoning is this:

"It's so critical that when business, people find it easy to operate in Ghana, then investments increase and if investments increase, employment will be increased. If employment increases, people are going to be better off and it will improve the overall livelihood of the people."

Did he just fall off a Breton Woods Institution truck? 

When you contrast Pelpuo against people like Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Thomas Kwesi Quartey who stated categorically to the Europeans, over the Economic Partnership Agreements, that:

"The manner in which the EU was pushing Ghana to sign the EPAs "brings lingering questions to the minds of Africans""

then you kind of wonder whether we are living in a typically Ghanaian day, when policies and practices don't cohere, or inure, to the benefit of the Ghanaian good.


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