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Is Ghana An Aid-Dependent African Country Collecting World Bank Stars?   
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The Daily Graphic on January 2 this year reviewed an article by the London Financial Times which expressed the view that Ghana could become “an emerging black power rather than an aid-dependent African reformer collecting World Bank stars”.

I am afraid it will not be easy to wring ourselves from aid-dependency and childish euphoria when we are congratulated by international institutions and those who give us aid. Government can only lead us to a better Ghana if it develops a mind of its own and adopts a plan with clearly defined objectives.

We that is the people who are to regain our self-respect should support leadership in its efforts to rid the country of unnecessary poverty.
And this should be the New Year resolution of every patriotic Ghanaian.

We need a new mind-set to rely on ourselves and develop the country. This does not mean that we should refuse outside involvement.

Loans are necessary but they should assist real development and should not impoverish our grandchildren or make them excessively dependent on creditors. Investment should be welcome but our policies should indicate where investors are welcome and such investors should receive adequate assistance.

Our leaders should wean themselves from the nonsense that particular investors have decided to invest in Ghana because they like us and want to help the country to develop. Investors lock their money in enterprises and projects so that they may make profits. We should make it possible for them to gain profits while we see to it that they respect our laws and regulations.

Our officials should ensure that this is done. We should see to it that investors are attracted to areas of our choice and are assisted in their lawful endeavours which should contribute to economic and social development.

We should welcome concern with social responsibility but that should not deflect us from our duty to see to it that our laws and regulations are obeyed.

Government itself should not be inhibited by any aspect of a political ideology from engaging in economic and social activity. If it should set up an enterprise to prevent tomatoes and other vegetables from rotting, it should do so whether powerful outside organisations approve or not. The enterprises should however be well-managed.

We should abandon the stupid notion that government enterprises are necessarily wasteful. If that were so, we should leave the army to private enterprise. In this regard we should read and know how other countries have got to where they are.

There is no government which has not taken bold measures when the national interest so dictates. And such action need not be in consonance with its current ideology. I studied Roosevelt of America’s Tennessee Valley Authority project at secondary school at Achimota.

Government acted in the citadel of free enterprise. More recently, when banks collapsed in the United States, government did not leave free enterprise procedures to take their course. Bankruptcy was not allowed to be declared so that receivers might move in. Government took action so that the national economy might be saved from collapse.

In brief, government should act in the national interest and opposing political parties and the people should assist while they make reasonable suggestions. Thievery and corruption should not be normal in government enterprises once the people are awake. The role of political parties in opposition is not merely to oppose.

Mindless opposition invites unwelcome government action and undermines democracy. We rightly like freedom of expression which democracy allows. But democracy does not mean the pollution of the airways and media by hot air. Let us not behave like children when others praise the practice of democracy in Ghana.

We should see to it that our democracy promotes social and economic development and not incessant loud empty comments and abuse. On the social side in 2012 we should ensure that faults in the education and health systems and in other areas like old age and disability are corrected. Repeating the party jargon should give way to observation and study. We should pressurise our parties to adopt the correct attitude. New issues should be approached with the national interest in mind.

Only a change in mind-set can rescue Ghana from aid-dependency and lead us into the great new age. Only a change in mind-set leading to self-confidence will enable us to grow up and not be euphoric about World Bank and other praises.

Our New Year resolution should be to help establish a confident self-reliant Ghana without any complexes but critical of its efforts and achievements and determined to create a better Ghana for all Ghanaians. May the party which subscribes to these objectives win the 2012 elections.
Source: K. B. Asante

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