We need to move away from ‘gov’t to build, gov’t to own’ mantra – Harry Yamson

A fellow of Solidaire Ghana, Harry Yamson, has called all and sundry to move from the ‘government to build, government to own’ mantra.

According to him, government must make it possible for the private sector to do business but not for it to be operating a business.

He stated that all the political parties are guilty of this development, stressing political parties must desist from such acts.

“Every time we want to government to be the one that does it, it’s wrong. It’s not the business of government; it is the business of government to package this country and make it attractive and put in place all the right support. It is not government’s business to go and run factories; that is where we have a problem,” he said.

He cited an instance in South Korea where private entities were put in charge of an auto industry that thrived because they were protected by the power of the state’s purse at all times in its infancy.

Relating that to businesses in Ghana, he said, “there is nothing wrong in using the power of the state to protect infant industries, but we must be very clear-minded about how long we will do it and what we will demand as performance to ensure that at some point in time the things we start and nurture will stand on their own.”

He added that Ghana does the opposite of what was done in South Korea. Ghana rather makes a demand on government to “baby us, and unfortunately, politicians are looking for four and eight years [in office] and so they also go along.”

He, therefore, called for a change in the demand process. According to him, people must start to make a demand on politicians, we are not looking for shallow thinking, we are looking for depth, and we are looking for strategic thinking, and we are looking for delivery.”

His comment is in line with the collapse of the Komenda Sugar Factory.

The Komenda Sugar Factory was built from an Indian Exim Bank facility by the erstwhile Mahama government. It has not been in operation since its commissioning in 2016.

The factory that was projected to create employment for the residents of the Central Region has been a topical issue lately because it has been left to rot for close to five years.

According to former President John Mahama, who has been blamed by the incumbent government for the present condition of the $35 million factory, the Indian government prevailed on his administration to get the factory ready and later apply for funds to support the production of raw materials.

But President Akufo-Addo, in reaction, has stated that this approach goes against every viable business practice.

He further indicated that despite Komenda Sugar Factory being a big albatross around government’s neck, his government would never consider abandoning it.

Meanwhile, the President assured this week that the factory would be operationalised in the first quarter of 2022.

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