Opinions of Tue, 6 Mar 20184
61 years of political independence and economic slavery
On the 6th of March 1957, the freedom fighters including Dr. Kwame Nkrumah declared the freedom and independence of this nation, Ghana. 61 years along the line has undoubtedly seen a nation which is politically free but economically enslaved to the western world. The growth of this nation’s economy has not being consistent to ensure effective development.
After the attainment of independence, what the nation has witnessed is the consistency in terms of begging for alms (Aids and financial support) by our leaders to revive and boost the economy. In dollar terms, ex-president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah borrowed the equivalent of $2.5 billion between 1957 and 1966 to support the 7 years development plan which saw the building of the Accra Tema motorway and other developmental projects. Successive governments after Nkrumah also borrowed even Hugh amounts in dollar terms which further increased our debt stock and still. With this, I ask, must we continue borrowing or develop more pragmatic means of reviving the economy through revamping the agricultural sector for example?
Additionally, the IMF Executive Board approved a $918 million loan to Ghana to support a reform program aimed at faster growth and job creation while protecting social spending in February 2015 because of the large depreciation of the cedi, high inflationary pressures and fiscal deficits. This economic turmoil persuaded the government led by John Mahama to go for IMF loan which came with conditionalities which has consequently led to the rise in the unemployment rate of the country for the past 3years.
Sadly, Ghana and Malaysia achieved independence in same year. Whereas, Ghana achieved its independence in March 6th, Malaysia achieved its independence in August 31st, but these two countries are not comparable in terms of economic development. I can confidently say Malaysia is both politically and economically independent but same can’t be said of Ghana. Malaysia after attaining independence adopted two plans towards economic liberation and which is, first, to eradicate poverty, particularly rural poverty and second, elimination of identification between race and prosperity. This ensured social justice to all Malaysians. Poverty was however tackled through agricultural policy, more investment in rural infrastructure and the creation of free trade zones in rural areas to create new manufacturing jobs to absorb the vast energetic unemployed youth at the time.
Well, with this new government and its passion for creating jobs through the planting for food and agriculture, free shs, one district one factory, the nation can only be expectant of a sound economic environment few years from now. But in totality, Ghana at 61years has a lot to do as a nation to becoming independent economically. More room for improvement if Ghana was a student and received its report card today. We can’t be proud of our 61 years characterized by current emerging increase in crime rate, corruption in most government institutions, politics that goes beyond being patriotic and many more deteriorating factors.
Writer: Emmanuel Degraft Quarshie