Opinions Sun, 11 Dec 2011

Ghana’s Volatile Economy and Bad Governance

By Ato Aidoo

I have no doubts at all, that since 2009 when the reins of government changed in Ghana, decision-making on problematic areas of the economy have been submerged in uncountable controversies.

The government is underperforming. It has woefully failed in immeasurable instances; where it has sidelined the needs and aspirations of majority of the population, who for no palpable reason have to grapple with one more year of deception, and public display of wealth by government officials.

There has been too much of rhetoric, counter-accusations, lies, and commentaries based on nothing but extreme mudslinging that carries the burden of unsubstantiated facts. This has become the hallmark of the present administration in Ghana, a country that started benefiting from oil revenue in the latter part of 2010, but has nothing much to show in terms of practical economic benefits.

New challenges emerging in Ghana, and the ones that appeared to have been met by the introduction of not-too-good interventions had also translated into slow mismanagement of the country’s economy. This presents to the world a portrait of deficient leadership, and bad governance.

The approach to economic growth due to oil production, and yet to be trapped gas, has been sub-standard, and it had become pretty clear that policies for sound economic take-off have been severely affected by beggar-thy-neighbor attitude. Ghana lacks strong leadership, and unless that changes, the country’s poor economic management, and recent debacle of new borrowing and lending would remain a disincentive for rapid growth, as domestic output decreases.

The government’s desire to protect its appointees and party interests appear to be dominating its interventions, as evidenced by a new $20 million party headquarters being built by the Chinese in the capital, Accra, where land acquisition attracts astronomical prices. Inevitably, the people suffer from the impression that this government lacks the ability to govern. The engagement in self-deception, and sweeping statements which the president of a country does not condemn, are not only shocking and demeaning, but help to define how far Ghana’s democracy is deteriorating gradually, but surely into a volatile posture. When will sanity prevail?

Bad governance cannot foster development, and it is imperative the government begins to design and implement development strategies geared toward individual needs and circumstances, while ensuring improvement in the government machinery. Ghana is on life-support against the backdrop of failed promises and trivialities that represent a mockery of the government and its paid commentators who have disengaged their attention from “bread and butter” issues.

If some developing countries enjoyed good governance that facilitated rapid economic growth, it was due to their truthful engagement with the citizenry, and solving problems. Ghana lacks this vision; the broader repercussions are that poverty and unemployment have increased. This has been the bane of the people’s existence. There is lack of a driving force for good economic management, as the government fails to recognize that there is a correlation between development, the impoverished and badly governed.

The demand for fresh thinking and change is legitimate, partly moved by the fact that the people have been short-changed and micro-managed by deception. It is important the people learn and work toward change, and good governance. They should intensify the demand for policies tailored to basic needs, quality education, infrastructural development, functional health system, gender equality, incentives for the disadvantaged and the elderly.

To the people: “power lies in your hands, you have to determine which direction to go, but continually ask yourselves, if this is the type of governance you voted for”. This would help define what Ghanaians could become, if people really aspire to free themselves from these disturbing manifestations of a bigoted government.

In these three words: inconsistencies, intolerant, and unrepentant, Ghanaians can sum up what they have learned about the ruling government, its actions and inactions.

Columnist: Aidoo, Ato