There comes a time when silence is a betrayal. That time has come for us in relation to Youth Unemployment and nosing of Public Sector restructuring in Ghana. The spirit of this call is by no means easy for they sound with the convictions of a mighty man like Martin Luther King Jnr.Yet the praxis to the call is indebtedly a morally difficult one granted that our policy makers in Ghana have enjoyed our deep slumber in policy auditing for a heck.
Even when bitten hard by clarions of patriotism, novices like myself do not elect themselves to speak to tongue with noble men of honor like the Hon Senior Minsiter, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo especially in terms of macroeconomic decisions. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of convenient thought within one’s own appreciation of what is it to right and wrong within a cosmos. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful injustice to history and cannons of equity, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by doubt of the real intentions of our leadership; but we must fearlessly speak up regardless of the repercussions so us to demand that what is it to Caesar, be given to Caesar.
It is instructive to note that the seriousness of job creation is underscored by the recognition of the right to work not only as a basic human right, but a constitutional right also. Article 24 (1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, clarified this right as an economic right: “Every person has the right to work…” Article 34 (2) even makes it compelling on governments to annually report the realization of this right to work. This right to work, however, is gradually becoming very difficult for both government and individuals to realize primarily due to wrong policy prescriptions and selfishness of the political class.
So here I am, thumbing up a nose at a presentation the Hon. Senior Minister made in the stead of the Vice President of Ghana, His Excellency Alhaji Dr. MahamudBawumia as guest Speaker to the Ghana @ 60 Economic Forum on 7th August, 2017 where he hinted of public sector layoffs as an option to build and sustain the Ghanaian economy.
His alternative recommendation for the future of jobs sounded like an ideal child of the International Monitory Fund (IMF) yet many Youth in Ghana are left hapless if He helps IMF to succeed at shirking government’s responsibility to make the state work out jobs for citizens as specified in the constitutional provision above. I am scandalized by such pronouncements pouring in at this dawn of the new administration. I wish it was Dr. Bawumia himself who addressed this forum as planned guest speaker and presented such for our attention. Then we would have just been reminding him of the era where some selfish wicked evil elements took to the IMF and returned to confused us with terms like “Public Sector Rationalization, Public Sector Freezing, this, that”, etc until he came hard at them to earn our trust and confidence to safe Ghanaian youth of Joblessness. We thought the change in verdict was promissory to jobs but alas.
Anyways, in the final analysis, this thinking of labor as a burden, smacks a close appreciation of the picture. Why would a critical resource like labor, I mean vibrant youthful labor be a burden to a young economy with enormous industrial potentials like Ghana?Classical Economies all over are shrinking because of bottom line deficits in both actuals and labor forecasts.
Infact Germany is a recent example. Why would Germany of all countries in the EU, open her doors for Refugees, offer scholarships for Refugees and activate a protectionist regime for the welfare of Refugees?The Dutch also understands and evidence abounds that their medical and engineering sectors can only survive the future via skills importation from Africa and China.
Yes! China understood the game of exporting skills much earlier and merged it beautifully with what Paul Collier referred as STATE CAPITALISM.
So over to you Mr. Hon.Snr. Minister. You mentioned so many models from countries that are what they are today because they in part or wholly robbed us but you ignored such establishment in your presentation. What about the state capitalism model that worked for China? Which private sector must harness the blessings in our youth for our country? In any case, could any private sector or the sum of all private sector players be more stronger and capable than the government we handed to you because we believe you could think differently to get things done for our collective good? To what extent are you convinced that private sector jobs support or guarantee citizens welfare? How much real income is disposed and equitably shared by the private sector?
I grew up to meet a stadium in faraway locations like Wa, Bolga, Lawra and Tumu. It means someone at some point in time in our Nation’s history, understood the responsibility of the state to equitably distribute state resources.
With this our lazy thinking, we have killed almost all local industries. Tumu was a fine enclave for Cotton production and still have the promise of Jobs if revived. In 2012, we took our private sector mantra high. Got OLAM of all to move there and what are the results? Where is OLAM today and where is Cotton and Tumu? Where are the jobs?
Again, we got another selfish appreciation of Public Private Partner(PPP) and brought private sector players like Agambire g (RLG), Joseph Oppong (Zoomlion) and other gang of merciless robbers, resourced them more than even the entire Ministries of Agriculture, Local Government, Youth and Sports, etc and watched as they squandered our taxes in the name of Planting trees in our villages on behalf of our farmers, rearing Guinea fowls, collecting our wastes on behalf of our District Assemblies, naming even our streets on behalf of our Town Country Planning Departments, managing our poor workers’ pensions, training our youth and employing them because IMF says we should reduce public sector and go private. What are the results? What is the quality of the jobs they created? Where are even those jobs today? Yet those private sector “angels” are filthy rich today courtesy your very own class mates in this game of thinking.
Let’s define our own governance and economic parameters, work out our own model and drop these funny models from our detectors. IMF should have been the last to dine with at this moment in our development history.Moreso, given how you invited us to bastardize the previous government for taking Ghana on that economic path.
If you still want to take us to this lazy thinking about shrinking space in the public sector, please be kind and honest to the people of Ghana by starting the layoffs from those children and relatives of yours in the public sector as well as children of all other MPs and Ministers that just got to, are yet to and are even serving in the public sector already.
Come on guys, when Donald Trump got to the White House with his reality show, Americans, both republicans and democrats rose in unison to stay wait, stop, these are the people that made America great! These are the things that brought us results this far!
So in observance of President AkufoAddo’s call to citizenship, let’s “be citizens, citizens, not spectators” to tell our politicians that they must think for all of us. We don’t want party-private- sector or one-man create-loot-share National building tactics. We all pay taxes and want to share the pride of delivering all the basket of goods to our publics therein. If you can not manage us as a public, please you have no business enjoying the trust of our thumb prints. We queued to vote for alternatives!
It was the Public sector that build Tema motorway and the entire Tema, same public sector built, rail ways, dams, roads and other legacy infrastructure across the length and breadth during the formative stages of this republic which we as IMF generational Economists, are yet to replicate any serious stint of. So please make it work for us like it did for Kwame Nkrumah and at best Col. Acheampong.
Away to this lazy thinking! Whose child, brother or even father or mother must go home because of public sector bloating and who must go to work on same terms?
This thinking is dead wrong!!!