Mr. Akenten Appiah-Menkah
Mr. Akenten Appiah-Menkah, one of Ghana’s celebrated industrialists, has bemoaned the lack of political will by past governments to develop the private sector which continues to be the engine of growth of the economy.
“It is one of the ironies of Ghana’s post-independence history that, upon attaining the ‘political kingdom’, Nkrumah and his successors have sought to entrust economic development to the foreign investor, to the virtual exclusion of indigenous entrepreneur”.
For instance, he said, decrees such as, Capital Investment Act 1963, the Capital Investment Decree 1973, The Investment Code 1981 (Act 437) and investment Code 1985, had been published with the sole aimed at attracting foreign capital to Ghana.
Delivering the Freedom Power Lecture 2012 of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy in Accra last night, Mr. Appiah-Menkah said there was no comparable legislation in the Ghana Statute Book aimed at encouraging the indigenous entrepreneur.
Speaking on the topic ‘Political patronage of the private sector in Ghana; Realities and illusion’, he said the anomaly which had existed since Ghana’s independence, had been due to the fear of the Ghanaian politician of the emergence of any powerful economic class of private entrepreneurs to rival and moderate them in the event of their excesses and abuse of political powers.
“For the first time, this fear was put aside and even rectified constitutionally by Article 36 of the 1992 Constitution, specifically Section 2 (b) which gave ample opportunity for individual initiative and creativity in economic activities and foster an enabling environment for a pronounced role of the private sector in the economy.”
Mr. Appiah-Menkah said Ghana had virtually become the net importer of every product of the world including toothpick of bamboos.
He asked: “Can we let this go on because we are planning to score the popular political advantage now, even if it is not right for the national development in the long term?”
He said two former state investment and development banks in the areas of the promotion of industry and agriculture in the country had shamefully and regrettably been converted to the level of the competitive High Street commercial banks to the disadvantage of any favourable investment policies to the private sector in these areas.
Mr. Appiah-Menkah said the political direction of the country had all the time been on politics without seriously looking at the economic and development aspect of the future.
Notwithstanding, he said, the future of the country from this year would be determined by which political parties could best solve the problems of the private sector to enable Ghana to get into the trail of Korea and the Asia tigers for her developmental programme.