Matters Arising

Nana Yaa Ofori Atta

In 2017, the new management of the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) set for itself the ambitious target of attracting a quantum of US$5 billion into Ghana comprising of Foreign Direct Investment, (FDI) domestic and Joint Venture (JV) inflows.  The deepening of existing investment was also front and center.

Total investments for the fiscal year ending December 31st 2017 is estimated at $6.1 billion, 98.2% of which – some $4.91 billion – represents commitment by FDI.     

By the close of the last quarter of the fiscal year, GIPC on its own had booked $3.61 billion of direct FDI inflows.  In Q4, the Ghana Free Zones Board delivered some $248 million into the kitty; the Minerals Commission bolstered with a further $549 million and the Petroleum Commission topped up with an additional $493 million.  Ghana Beyond Aid?

Of the total value of US$379 million investments committed in Q4 of 2017, 95% of value was FDI but only 5% of it was booked as ‘local content’.  53 new projects were registered, 62% of which are wholly owned and 38 of them were considered JVs.  Of the 4,917 jobs that are expected to be created, the majority – 4,548 – will go to Ghanaians.  

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Manufacturing and the Chinese

In 2017, following the stabilisation by this government of what was at best a spluttering supply of energy in Ghana, the bulk of employment created for qualified Ghanaians in Q4 per the GIPC, was overwhelming in manufacturing.  Jobs created by the Service industry came a distant second.  Frankly, the Building and Construction sector, General Trade and Exports neither brought home the bacon nor created significant employment here.

The top sources of investment into Ghana in Q4 2017 were in order of US$ value: from China; India; Iran; Mauritius; Singapore; Luxembourg; South Africa; France, Canada and then Lebanon.

Doing Business in Ghana by Ghanaians

Post the first meeting of its new board of directors last week – it has taken a year to assemble and approve them into place – GIPC  is threatening to bank $10 billion of new investments in 2018.  They must be held to account for this audacity.

Before they, you or I get carried away.  Reflection.  Moving forward, matters arising.  Yes, continue to keep the accelerator on FDI AND let us examine too how and where domestic investment is participating and why not?  What is it that FDI sees and can do in Ghana that local entrepreneurs can not or will not.  How to attract sustainable FDI and significantly grow qualified local content.

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These are not the buck passing even when obviously failing days of Nkrumah’s behemoth state owned enterprises.  We have had it all.  An airline that couldn’t in the end afford to taxi on the tarmac, state farms with flags, patriotic slogans and not a viable business plan in sight.

In this cut throat global world of fierce competition, Local Content must be identified, nurtured, protected if required for an agreed period and challenged, always, to own critical corners and the center of the key drivers of Ghana’s economy.

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No News is Noisier Than Fake News

It is not news, there really is nothing to debate.  In matters governance, Ghana has determinedly plunged in the ratings based on its perception of official ability and willingness to address corruption, indexed by ourselves and others such as Transparency International (TI).

In the 2017 Global Corruption Perception index rankings published in 2018 by TI, Ghana has scored its lowest rating since 2012, which is when the free fall actually began.  This rating, in this survey, like every other comparable ranking in any other credible survey, depends on when it was taken, the methodology, the sample size and margin of error.

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Context

There is a reason why the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has broken all records in the 4th Republic.  They represent the first in situ government to be turfed out of office after one term with an overwhelming loss of more than one million votes.  The perception of corruption and the continued pervading sense of a ‘dead goat’ – meaning ‘I don’t care’ – was the mantra of their beleaguered candidate, former President John (IV) Mahama.   

Yikes!!!! It made for a nice song and dance and it also translated into a humiliating return back to the Minority benches for the party ‘founded’  by the former Flt. KT. Jerry John (I) Rawlings.  

The NDC has a history that it should embrace.  It was Mr. Rawlings, fuming and booming in his blood stained military fatigues who was sufficiently calmed enough by sober cogent heads to superintend the authorship of a bespoke 1992 Constitution.  Those quiet sober heads provided Rawlings via the constitution, inbuilt indemnity, and from from that safe perch, his ability now, after the fact, to call it like it is.

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Beyond lining up his elders and betters against a wall and vicariously approving their execution, by superintending the abuse of the dignity and rights of targeted business people, descending temporarily to clean up gutters and dramatically stripping off his shirt to physically evacuate sacks of cocoa, there was no revolution.  It was at best, an insurrection.

Mr. Rawlings did translate from military mufti to civilian fugu enough to serve 2 terms as President.  Even he dealt at some point with realpolitik with early attempts to reform the economy.  After his two terms in office, Kufuor , successor of Rawlings also handed over to what was essentially the  third return of former Vice President John Evans Atta Mills as a presidential candidate on the ballot paper for the NDC.

To date, there is no consistent official explanation by the NDC as to how and why Mills – he also broke records by becoming our first gentleman to die unceremoniously in office. It is sad and true that those who knew him said Mills was indeed a gentleman in life.  He was also probably gravely ill even before he was propped up into office. When will Parliament led by the Minority table a debate on that matter?

It Is What It Is

On matters governance, President Akufo-Addo of the NPP has inherited a legacy poisoned chalice.  He campaigned and won on a fiery ticket of fighting corruption, so the onus is now firmly on him.  Year One is over.  The mood in some parts is very much ‘Now show me what you got’.

The nomination and the confirmation by Parliament of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor is deeply important. Symbolically, Amidu, the ‘Citizen Vigilante’, he who turned on his own to call out corruption in the NDC, must deliver in office prosecutions against his former colleagues.  Perhaps a few of his new frenemies as well.

The concrete actions to be taken by the Office of the Auditor General, the Public Procurement Agency and others paid by the public to guard the public purse … these are the signals that will shift the dial at home and abroad re Ghana’s Corruption Perception Index rating for 2018,  FDI inflows, domestic confidence and votes in 2020.

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