DAILY GRAPHIC , MONDAY NOVEMBER 2 2010, PAGE 27
BY EKOW DUNCAN
The convention peoples party (CPP) government, led by Kwame Nkrumah, made massive public sector investments in agriculture and manufacturing to lay a foundation for the emergence of our country as a modern industrialised nation. These socio-economic investment exceeded what had been achieved by Malaysia, India, South Korea, and Indonesia that were the newly independent countries in the era.
Nkrumah justified the primary of the state in economic investments and development on the observation that colonialism precluded the emergence of a viable capitalist class and private sector in the colonial economy. He concluded therefore that it was responsibility of the state to assume the role of prime mover in the economic development of the newly independent country.
In compliance with its mandate to provide bridge loans to transitory nations engaged in economic reconstruction after world war II, Nkrumah, in 1965, made an application for such facility to that international monetary fund (IMF) just as the government of the united kingdom did.
The justification for the faculty was to shore up the reduced foreign exchange reserves of the country that was owned to his economic investments and the fall in the price of cocoa on the international market.
The fund declined the request and demanded the condition of the sale of the public sector economic investments in Ghana. It is instructive that the condition was not demanded of the government of the untied kingdom in similar application to the fund even though the government of the united kingdom also had dominate public sector economic investments at the time.
Nkrumah reflected the demand for the sale of the economic investments made by his convention peoples party (CPP) government because these investments were in his vision, the foundations and basis of a modern, industrialised Ghana.
The liberal democrats of the political divide who took the convert reins of government after the overthrow of the cpp government on 24th February 1966 accepted the condition of the IMF and received “development assistance” (sic) in the form of food aid of powered milk, cooking oil, rice sugar and canned fish from the government of the united states of America.
Under the control and supervision of the economic committee of the national liberation council(NLC) these eminent citizens embarked on a massive diabolic sale of the public sector investments of the cpp government of kwame Nkrumah.
It was an intervention of a public protest led by a then young radical lecturer at the economics department of the University of Ghana , this aborted a diabolic sale of the pharmaceutical division of the Ghana industrial holding corporation (GIHOC) to abbot laboratories of the united states of America.
The ensuring years marked the steepest decline in economic investments and employment level in Ghana as companies from the developed economies picked rapaciously the plums and cherries of Nkrumah’s economic investments and retrenched labour. Revenue from the sale of the investments were improperly receipted and utilised in consumptives expenditures.
The Tema and Takoradi cement works ltd became Ghana cement factory(GHACEM)bought by Scancem of the Scandinavian. Tema soup factory became lever brother of the united Africa company (UAC). Ghana rubber estates and tyre factory became firestone Ghana ltd owned by a us company with the same name.
We delivered the Ghana textiles printing (GTP) to UAC and abandoned to decay, the numerous garment factories such as loyalty garments. We then made the descent to hand ne down garments including warm clothing and space suit replicas from any part of the universe for our impressionable and fashionable youth at prices that were worth the shame but no longer.
We abandon the farmers of the workers brigade, food production and state farms corporations and threw the youth unto the streets to portions and threw the youth unto the streets to peddle foreign goods for foreign manufactures. We still have no plans to utilise their labour in the achievement of any defined, rational development objectives.
We sold the Tema food compels corporation under a dubious sales agreement. The cocoa processing company in Takoradi was sold out and we abandoned the storage silos and the gold refinery. We left the Subri plantations for paper manufacturer of jute sacks for cocoa exports and agricultural produce was left to rot in Kumasi.
The assets of the state gold mining corporation were carved out as booty to western companies and we drained our foreign exchange reserves to pay huge sums to western consulting firms for the exercise.
The treasury of the nation received under declared tax revenue only without the expected profits form our investments. The country became a victim of transfer pricing and sky –rocketing prices as the foreign exchange reserves of the nation were salted away to western financial capitals and homesteads.
The R. T. Briscoe affair that was investigated by the late Joe Appiah illustrated how the deprivation and salting of our foreign exchange reserves were carried out through flying waybills and freight receipts and under- invoicing. Inflateration and foreign exchange shortages plagued the economy. It began the suffering process in the land.
The NLC and succeeding governments have up to this day not accounted to nation for the more that ten Illushyin aircraft to Ghana air ways corporation and the core of the atomic reactor at the atomic energy research institute whose status was changed to a commission without mission. The assets and the ships of our defunct black star line that were symbolism of the spirit and pride of the nation were spirited away without a trace.
Our heroes, roles models and the newly rich were the people who discounted and plundered our assets for personal gain and delivered our natural resources for pittance to those who held us in bondage and deprivations.
The focus of the economic development efforts of the nation after the regime of the convention peoples party under Nkrumah was no longer investments and employment creation issues but measures of stabilisation, predisposed issues of globalisation, the fight against inflation and redeployment of labour that is an euphemism for labour retrenchment.
Under the direction of the world bank and the IMF and in the exchange for development assistance, we undertook measures in structural adjustment programme to accelerate socio-economic growth and development and became a highly indebted and poor country. And for the same reasons, we undertook the HIPC programme of the same institutions in pursuit of the same objectives as sap that sapped and zipped our economy and drove our country into insoluble debt, poverty and penury.
There must be a catch somewhere because our leaders are (mis?)educated and intelligent above the national average. Their intelligence informs them that development assistance confers procurement rights to goods and services that serve their prediction to corruption. And they are lapping and loving it while we stand aside, stare and worship for crumps form their plunderers and beggars banquet.
The national liberation council NLC that removes the cpp government of kwame Nkrumah showed the development assistance as distinct from the akosombo hydro-project.
The second complementary lesson prof the NLC was how to rip and rape the state through the sale of its assets. Our leaders ever since accept any condition exchange for development assistance, and swear that the sale of national assets and natural resources is right and unquestionable.
One of the outcomes of these developments is the struggles for political office by any means as the most direct avenue to the acquisition of personal wealth. It has led to mistrust and suspicion within the body polity and a divided society where individuals are engaged and treated on the basis of their perceived political affiliation. One is either for us or against us. There is no common ground and accommodation in our common.
With the same climatic conditions and vegetation, Ivory Coast produces annually, more than 400 thousand metric tons of coffee and over a million tons of cocoa. While we supervised the extinction of our cocoa production in forty two years. Under Nkrumah, our cocoa production was five hundred and fifty thousand metric tons in 1965. We produced about seven hundred thousand metric tons in 2007(?).
Our myopia and indolence are exposed by the current fact that popular, cash rich and raw material hungry china can take any increase we can achieve in our cocoa and coffee production. But as we speak now, a near thousand acre cocoa farm cultivated with tax prayer’s money by the liquidated cocobod, plantations ltd is abandoned in the bush at Akontombra in western region.
This, in a nutshell, is how we manage the economic investments of kwame Nkrumah and our collective national response to the challenge of Osagyefo dr. Nkrumah at the dawn of our bith that our independence should demonstrate that the Blackman is capable of managing his own affairs.
It is irrefutable by the pervasive and insidious hardship in the lives of our people that our response has been one of immoral greed, myopia, indolence, complicity , betrayal and failure. And Nkrumah wept. And the man died apologies to Wole Soyinka his death is our second birth to meet his challenges because the man lives.
But who will lead us to sing his song now in our now strange land? And how shall we sing our song, his song, in this strange land of plunderers, beggars and transgressors?
It may be the case that we cannot sing now but later because we choke and there is lump in our throats and our eyes are moist. And this is real but only personal. What about you?