By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Even in advanced industrial cultures like Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Canada, Australia and the United States, the government has a central role to play in the development of remunerative or decent-paying civil-service jobs. And it goes without saying that it is a functionally vibrant civil service sector that lays the foundation for the rapid and salutary development of the private sector.
Also while, indeed, infrastructural amenities and services like rail and road transport, healthcare and education can be quite efficiently undertaken by the private sector, for example, nevertheless, the prohibitive costs involved necessitate the active participation of the largely non-profit oriented central government in order to ensure that the least economically fortunate get reasonably well taken care of by society at large.
Still, the one aspect of labor and/or employment development on which I wholeheartedly agree with the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II, is the imperative need for the central government to be studiously focused on a comprehensive private-sector development policy. The latter, of course, involves radically streamlining our complex indigenous land-tenure system and the reconfiguration of an efficient taxation regimen for both start-up enterprises as well as well-established private corporations.
Presently, we are told that at best the efficiency of the central government's taxation system operates at the daunting capacity of some 40-percent. What this means is that the overwhelming majority of Ghanaian private entrepreneurs do not pay an adequate level of taxes, if any at all, to ensure the sustainable maintenance and development of the country's infrastructure.
But, of course, another equally significant factor has to do with rank corruption at virtually every level of government. And here, perhaps, the judgment-debt scandals readily come to mind. In short, what needs to be done in order to effectively ensure that Ghana is put on the right track towards a viable development agenda, was eloquently and pointedly indicated by President Barack H. Obama, when the then-newly elected first African-American president of the United States, in more than 230 years, underscored the imperative need for African governments to encourage the steady building and development of strong institutions and/or democratic political cultures, rather than unconscionably causing the unproductive ossification of the latter by the unsavory and blanket toleration of strongman regimes, such as Ghanaians endured under 19 years of the Rawlings dictatorship.
Needless to say, the fragile nature of Ghana's central government necessitates that the latter float an expansive invitation to business experts and entrepreneurs to formulate policies deemed conducive for the rapid and healthy development of the country for the prompt consideration and implementation by the three major arms of government.
Currently, two of the greatest bottlenecks to the country's industrial development appear to be reliable energy supply and an efficient bank-financing system. If the government could promptly address these crucial problems, the raging economic lethargy could be remarkably meliorated.
___________________________________________________________ *Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Department of English Nassau Community College of SUNY Garden City, New York June 22, 2013 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ###