Ghana’s economy was setting off, to become the best in the developing world, starting off in 1957, with a credit balance of £ 240 million, about £ 6 billion today.
Against the advice of his finance minister, K.A. Gbedemah, Nkrumah started a communist project, nationalising almost everything, except perhaps the cocoa industry and few others. The State Farms for example were a big failure as the much-expected revenues were not realized.
K.A. Gbedemah was removed from the Ministry of Finance to Health in 1961 and he still would not keep quiet. Marked down for imprisonment, the finance guru who was successfully leading Ghana to become a second world nation, and wonderfully negotiated with the USA for the construction of the Akosombo Dam, after Russia failed to assist and sent us snow ploughs when we bought and paid for tractors, had to flee into exile.
By the time he was overthrown in 1966, Nkrumah left Ghana with an external debt of over £350 million. What was to show? Ghana got loans to construct the Akosombo Dam, the Tema Harbour, the Tema Motorway and the Tema township. So where did the £ 240 million go? Most of it went into sponsoring pro-nationalists in colonized African nations and supporting socialists to overthrow pro-capitalist governments of some independent Africa nations. Some also went to support corruptions in high places.
In 1971, during the K.A. Busia administration of the Progress Party government, the prime minister placed a ban on the importation of some items that could be produced here. Ghanaian businesses boomed with indigenous owned industries manufacturing products that were exported.
United Mattress and Foam Company Ltd, owned by Edward Osei Boakye (Boakye Mattress); Tata Brewery Ltd, owned by Joshua Kwabena Siaw; Darko Farms, owned by Kwabena Darko; Ashanti Oil Mills and Appiah Menka Complex Ltd owned by Appiah Menka; Industrial Chemical Industry, owned by Dr. Safo-Adu and the state-owned Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation, were among Ghanaian industries which were listed among the best in Africa and which were the source of revenue for Ghana from the exportation of their produce.
In 1979, Rawlings came with his revolutionary government of the AFRC and started collapsing the indigenous Ghanaian businesses. He returned in 1981 to complete what he started. He confiscated privately owned businesses without any sound reasons and nationalised them, then sold them off to foreign entities.
Rawlings then went ahead to sign Ghana onto binding international trade agreements, which discouraged the state from sponsoring the local production sector and at the same time, making it mandatory to import items we could easily produce here.
While foreign companies repatriated dollars which they converted from our cedis, the same cedis went chasing the dollar to be able to import among others, things we could produce here.
Foreign companies had very flexible tax regimes, enjoying tax exemptions and tax holidays, but not indigenous ones. Soon Ghana became an import driven economy and with that our currency started falling and with gross mismanagement, Ghana went highly broke and poor by the year 2000.
The Kufuor administration performed economic miracles and lifted Ghana up. Even at the time that Ghana’s economy was badly affected by the global economic crunch of 2008, this country sailed through, coolly.
Today, with another international economic crunch collapsing many economies, Ghana is in a situation where with the falling cedi and price hikes of foods and petroleum products, all seems to be lost.
Then on Sunday October 30, 2022 the president spoke in his latest series of “Fellow Ghanaians.”
Some Ghanaians believed that he spoke nothing that could bring solutions to our problems. But in my opinion, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, came with two important recommendations that can resolve the problems we are having and project Ghana into a second world economy.
The president spoke about banning or placing import restrictions on items that can be produced here in Ghana. Great news for our rice and poultry farmers. This means that Ghana is going to pull out of the binding trade agreements, Rawlings and his NDC forced on us. Because the only way we can shore up our currency is to produce what we consume.
Then came the president’s full endorsement of the One District One Factory (1D1F) policy, which is the brain child of the Trade and Industry minister, Hon Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten. Without 1D1F, Ghana cannot never get back to becoming an industrial giant in Africa. Without 1D1F, Ghana’s currency will always be chasing hard currencies.
Unfortunately, most members of the NDC are doing all they can to bastardise the 1D1F policy and rubbish it, as waste of finances.
The PNDC and NDC governments have never grown any indigenous industry and when the NPP is going out fully to turn things round for a better Ghana agenda, the opposition thinks nothing good can come out of this 1D1F.
Speaking on the Kumasi based OTEC 102.9 FM’s breakfast show, “Nyansapo” on Monday October 31,2022, Hon Oppong Nkrumah said government will use the next six months to boost the capacity of local companies to create more jobs and indigenous products at the same time.
Adding that excessive importation of certain products particularly foods that can be produced in Ghana will be ban after local producers begin to feed the economy with the needed capacity.
The president has spoken well, 1D1F is our salvation.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s stance.