I must confess I have found manifestoes of most of our parties wishy-washy. But at long last the leading ones have stumbled on what should be done to move Ghana forward.
More jobs should be created! And we the people should assist in this endeavour and contemptuously reject any apologies for backsliding when the party is in power.
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It is a difficult task to create jobs. The work should not only be satisfying for the individual worker but should be profitable and assist economic growth and national well-being. This means that the enterprise which provides the jobs should be carefully planned and well-executed. Those who work should be well-trained and disciplined and the supervising staff and directors should be competent. The companies code should be rigorously enforced and those who infringe its rules should be dealt with according to law.
Winning an election is, therefore, an opportunity to create a better Ghana and not a chance to improve personal, ethnic and party well-being. Indeed, if the party’s aim is kept after the general election, the leadership will look for those who can assist to advance its aims. Not many can play key roles in creating jobs and the honest party executive will find that it is not a question of winner takes all but a search for talents to help achieve party aims.
Even though we have made good progress in expertise development, we cannot find all the talents for work creation in one party and if the winning party is sincere it will realise that talents in the opposition can assist in the realisation of its aims and purposes. We should by now have a list of at least all the major enterprises in the country. We should at least know the key ones. Some can be assisted to have greater immediate impact on employment and the economy. So far as new enterprises are concerned, we should abandon unhelpful ideologies.
The state should ensure that facilities such as roads and power or electricity are adequate for entrepreneurs to function effectively and profitably. In Ghana’s situation and circumstances, fatuous statements about private enterprise being the engine of growth should not encourage government inaction. Government should accept its responsibility as the instrument for economic and social development.
Government should do the obvious. It should not moan about agricultural products going waste while our shops are full of foreign produce.
Government should assist in the preservation of fruit, for example, and we should have more local fruit juices on sale in our shops. It is an indictment on past and present administrations that our mangoes, pineapples and other fruits get rotten while we spend the little foreign exchange we have to import foreign fruit juices.
Government should not be afraid to venture into industry and services. Some enterprises may be necessary to keep Ghanaians to live in certain areas. Accra, Kumasi and the big cities are getting choked and we need jobs to keep people in the relatively remote areas. We should be innovative and even import raw materials to develop and maintain enterprises in some relatively remote areas.
State-assisted enterprises need not be corrupt. Competent people and not party job seekers should be engaged in key areas. The directors should be men and women of probity and the companies code should be rigorously applied. Rules should be made to ensure that the President does not give orders or directives to the chairman of a government-owned company or enterprise.
Investment of foreign concerns in certain key areas should be explored. Recently, there were talks about Chinese investment in the country. This should be of great benefit if carefully approached. The Chinese have money but they are interested in investment to make more money or increase the value of their assets. We should be interested in collaboration with the Chinese to process some of our raw materials and produce goods for our use and foreign markets, including the Chinese market. The possibilities are many and useful provided the mind is not infested with corruption and self-promotion.
Job creation must be a major objective of all the political parties. The schools, colleges and universities are turning out large numbers of people who will knock at the doors of employment houses. Serious problems will ensue if these doors are locked. The government employment experts should liaise with the educational institutions to ensure that graduates emerge with some knowledge of what industry and services require. The politically dangerous job situation can be turned into great expectations of plenty and economic well-being. The political parties have a great opportunity.