Monday, 6 March 2017

Let Us End Divisive Politics - And Pull Together Instead To Build A Prosperous Nation For All Ghanaians

Any modern-day president of the Republic of Ghana, who understands clearly that we are mere stewards of the natural environment,  and that we have an obligation to preserve what is left of our nation's natural heritage for future generations of our people, deserves the wholehearted support of all well-meaning Ghanaians.

President Akufo-Addo must have won the hearts of many environmentalists in Ghana, when he stated that he was dedicating  the Diamond Independence Day Anniversary celebrations, to the preservation of the natural environment.

At any rate, he won my heart, in so doing. One's prayer now, is that his administration will invite MetOxs - the Arizona University's spinoff set up to commercialise its new energy harvesting and toxin-free mining inventions - to Ghana to introduce toxin-free mining methods to players in the mining sector.

I do know for a fact that Dr. Abraham Jalbout, the MetOxs CEO, who is one of the inventors, is willing to  work with Ghana's mining sector, to turn  it into a  toxin-free industry - which is just what the nation now requires: if we are to succeed in  saving soils,  streams, rivers, ground water and other water bodies across vast swathes of the countryside, from further poisoning.

President Akufo-Addo was also right in urging Ghanaians to be hopeful that the next 60 years will see the eventual transformation of their nation into a truly prosperous and economically independent African country through the hard work and enterprise of the citizenry.

As a people we must think the impossible and dream of achieving what many think is beyond us. That is what will drive us forward.

But to succeed, we must come together and rededicate ourselves to the nation-building task, and renew the fight against narrow-minded prejudice that leads to nation-wrecking tribalism.

The polarisation  of Ghanaian society is a hindrance to the achievement of our collective goal of transforming our country into a prosperous society that is an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

That is not an impossible dream - if we do lateral thinking constantly: and face the future together with determination.

For example, by lowering taxes on businesses to the point where every business owner feels a moral obligation to pay their share of taxes because they are low and fair, paradoxically, tax revenues will increase dramatically.

And food for thought for our present crop of leaders: U.S. tech giant Apple Inc. sits atop a cash mountain of some US$140 billion or thereabouts. It is not alone in that respect: Microsoft ($83bn) and Google ($59bn) all have massive cash mountains too.

The question is: What can we do to attract such companies to  our country? Ghana can actually attract many cash-rich companies from around the world to move here by abolishing personal income tax - and making Ghana the nation with the world's lowest corporate tax rates.

That will create a long-lasting economic boom that will generate wealth and jobs galore right across the country. Creative thinking is indeed key to the transformation of Ghanaian society.

If we clamped down on the foreign crooks smuggling billions of dollars worth of gold out of Ghana annually, for example, could we not turn Obuasi and Tarkwa into global centres for  the purchase of credit-card-sized gold bars and gold coins etched with Adinkra symbols and the busts of great Ghanaians from the past, produced by the Precious Minerals  Marketing Company (PMMC), and create wealth and jobs in the two District capitals - whiles boosting Ghana's balance of payments and thus strengthening the cedi in the process?

And could we not fund the bulk of our infrastructure by inviting companies from around the world to bid  to self-finance the building, maintenance and operation of  tolled concrete motorways to all the regional capitals, for example - and pass laws enabling them to keep all the profits they generate from those public private partnership business models for 35 years: free from all taxes?

And will the same policy not enable us to build railway lines to all the regional capitals - without a pesewa in taxpayers' cash being needed to deliver projects of that nature, I ask?

Ditto build vitally needed bridges countrywide to facilitate the movement of people and goods across Ghana? We must think the impossible if we are to transform our dear nation.

If the Bank of Ghana (BoG) were to create digital accounts with it, using blockchain technology, for every Ghanaian citizen, and credit it with digitally created 'cash' (of say GHc1 million per account), which Ghanaians could spend as they wished - through  Ghana's cashless  payments ecosystem - what disaster could possibly befall Ghana? None.

Despite this being a high-interest environment, ''Helicopter money" will  work in Ghana and benefit ordinary people  as well as  boost the real economy in sustainable fashion - if the accounts are all held at the BoG and blockchain technology is deployed.

In any case, if we are happy  to accept quantitative easing that mostly  benefits greedy white-collar criminals in the financial services sector, why not give  that selfsame stimulus  package to ordinary Ghanaians through  their own individual digital accounts with the BoG?

Our  current leaders ought to step out of the shadow of conventional economic thinking - and mull that idea seriously. It is not nearly as foolish as it sounds. The UK's Positive Money movement, and the International Movement for Monetary Reform, contain some of the finest minds in the worlds of economics and finance.

Finally, if we passed laws transferring all lands held by Chiefs in trust for their people, directly to local communities, would we not end landlessness in Ghana - and make it possible for every Ghanaian family to own land and boost the agriculural sector that way too, I ask?

Let us think the impossible and transform Ghana together - instead of fighting each other in the name of party politics.

There is nothing we cannot do as a people if we unite and put our minds to it. But to succeed, we  must bring an end to the divisive politics now tearing us apart - and instead pull together to build a prosperous nation for the benefit of all Ghanaians.

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