In one of my previous articles titled “the rebirth of Africa the prodigal son”. I explained five major steps that a person or an institution must take to come out of any form of logjam or distress. Individuals or nations can come out of any form of logjam or distress. Individuals or nations can come out of any depressing negative position, such restoration or expected comebacks either in business, politics, economy; sport or life usually requires five unavoidable strategic steps. They are essential in moving from a negative position of depression or temporary failure to a position of boom or buoyancy. These five steps interestingly are all starting with the letter R. They are Realization, Resolution, Reaction and Restoration which ultimately leads to Rejoicing.
It is not unusual for things to fall behind or get bad in ones life, business or in an economy. In fact, in life, we learn more from such temporary failures or unanticipated setbacks more often than we actually learn from success. Why? The inspirational word of God said “A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again. (Prov. 24:16). It went further to say that “Rejoice not against me, o my enemies, when I fall, I shall rise up again. (Micah 7:8). It means that falling or failing as it were, is designed by our creator as a significant part of human learning process. For instance, in learning how to ride bicycle or walk as a child, we oftentimes fall many times; sustain some bad bruises before we master the art of riding without holding the handlebars anymore.
The holy book is full of great achievers who at one time or another suffered some temporary depression or setback before achieving their amazing results. Today, they are major reference point to all. Our father Abraham was a classical example. Despite those temporary setbacks in his life, Abraham was a great success, a friend of God and the father of all nations of the world.
Woe is defined as an intense grief or misery, affliction, misfortune or exclamation of sorrow or distress. That may look like what we are challenged with now in our country’s economy. It is also an established fact that a situation that looks very precarious and bleak today, with some degree of effort coupled with desired commitment from everyone involved can turn out to be another major wonder of the century.
We have so much testimony both in the word of God and in our contemporary world. Economies that shown signs of serious sickness miraculously came back to be one of the most buoyant in the world. We saw that happened in the case of the land of Samaria (Israel) in the bible days. Some few years back, even this same country Ghana, witnessed unprecedented economic hardship in the eighties which prayed will never be repeated again…..ever.
The situation got so bad that almost every able-bodied Ghanaian left the shores of this country to seek solace in other parts of the world. Some did not bother to come back here again, despite the economic transformation of a few years back. The situation in Somalia and Ethiopia cannot be easily forgotten. Today, these economies have bounced back from that state of despair into economic prosperity of sorts. Ethiopian Airlines is one of few highly visible and lucrative airlines in the continent of Africa, and many of their industries are thriving after the rebirth.
Looking at our own distressful position, the first step toward restoration is to realize that things have gone so bad with the economy. The ensuing question from this should be at what point did we miss it? Now that we are in it, the next reasonable thing to do is to make quick resolutions (commitment) to get out of it by taking proactive actions. This is what I called the real action (re-action).
What does that real-action entail? We must determine to face it using these four points’ agenda. Remember that it is only those that face it that are permitted to make it, if we fake it and pretend that the problem would disappear on its own accord, we must also prepare to ‘enjoy’ the attendant consequences of our action or inaction.
These steps are simple and unambiguous for anyone to implement. They are strategies that the four lepers that bail out the land of Samaria from their economic woes adopted to turn a hopeless situation to a miracle extraordinary within 24 hours with God help them.
Firstly, we have to set out to do something significant within the shortest possible time by thinking through the process that led us to this point so that we can make a quick U-turn from the point where we got it wrong and start doing things differently. This is what is called change, the beginning of every great turnaround.
Secondly, we got to take our economic issues one after the other. When you have a difficult puzzle, you got to solve it a step at a time in order not to confuse the issue by causing more harm than good to the fragile economic position. The treatment of a patient suffering from any chronic medical problem usually follows a simple but systematic approach in order not to complicate matters for the patient.
Thirdly, we have to let the people know the steps we are taking to resolve these problems through regular information disseminations. This is critical to ensure we get their support and backing in getting the issue resolved. We should not forget that Ghanaians are critical and impatient. We must get their full support to get things done most quickly and with result in mind.
Finally, we need to get everyone involved through massive mobilization of all productive hands in the country.
The national Economy determines the well-being of a nation. It revolves around all the activities which contribute to an improvement in the quality of life. These activities include agriculture, industry, mining and general services sectors which aim at improving the economy. These economic activities are basically determined by the human and natural resources available in a country such as land, water, mineral deposit, vegetation and human resources. I am talking about the skills and qualities of people available and ready to work within the economy. However, economic activities or economic growth cannot take place without human labour (skilled manpower). The combination of the labour force, the level of technological advancement and the natural resources or endowment in a country often determines the extent to which an economy experience growth and abundance .
A very good observer of this economy, would notice that out of the three important elements mentioned above which accelerates economic growth, only one is available and that is natural resource (Oil, gold, bauxite, cocoa etc). The other two engines of growth are in short supply; skilled manpower, (people willing and ready to work) and technological know how (required creative sense) that facilitate economic activities.
In our country, if you look carefully, you will notice that Ghanaian women have shown tremendous productive tendencies better than their male counterparts. The reason for this lopsidedness is unknown. It may be because the country is addressed as our mother land that is why women here are more productive and industrious, Unlike some other countries of the world where it’s our fatherland. In these countries, men usually take the lead in economic activities as regards nation-building.
No economy can experience growth where able-bodied men who should be responsible and productive are loafing about playing football morning and evening through out the day, impregnating unsuspecting teenage girls everywhere, some of them running after political office holders calling themselves youth-wing of some political party to earn a little dole.
If they don’t do these, they run out of the city centers and hide themselves in the hinterlands to perpetrate nefarious activities like the much dreaded “sakawa business”. Sometimes, they get so bizarre to the extent that they do anything to make quick money. At times, it involves carrying coffins in the dead of the night, walking naked at odd hours or sleeping at cemeteries in order to get their so called ‘jackpot’ from the spirit world. These and many other quick money-making enterprise such as internet fraud or SIMboxing have become so much attractive and appealing to these lazy young men, despite the fact that they know the severity of the punishment of their evil games.
No economy grows with such irresponsible behavior by able-bodied men. It is not surprising to see more trendy ladies in flashy cars these days, and all living more dignified economic lives all around while men who are suppose to be the glory of these young women are doing “Waka About” like they say in Nigeria for people that are drifting and wondering without any clear purpose or vision for their existence.
What should we do to correct this art of irresponsibility?
Our government has a major responsibility in this regard just like the parents of these boys and girls who have abandoned future prosperity for immediate gain. We are not leaving the religious institution out of this. We all must come together to chart a new course for our future generation.
There is much responsibility on the part of government to create job opportunities to these teeming unemployed graduates and school leavers. We must involve both private and non-governmental institutions so that all hands must be on deck to ensure we get out of our predicament. The 5% or 7.5% Reconstruction levy that government is charging yearly out of the profit before tax of major companies can be set aside for this purpose over next two to three years to jump-start the economy.
We should ensure that compulsorily, people that are out of school must take three to six months entrepreneurship training to prepare them mentally and strategically to start their own businesses. This will be a good addition from this government in line with the on going effort to create entrepreneurs among our people through the YES (Youth Entrepreneur Support) programme recently launched by the President Mahama.
I will suggest that government should encourage parents to be more responsible for their children’s upbringing. The way government is shouldering so many responsibilities of parents is making so many of them shy away from their parental responsibility for their children. Government pays the school fees; provides free feeding, free uniform, free shoes and free health care service. What then is the role of the parent in training the child?
Parents should be encouraged to have manageable family size they can easily accommodate. These numerous social interventions have in no small ways contributed to the leanness of government financial position. Instead of fathering a child and leave them to the state to train them, we should be able to ask ourselves. When such children graduate and become successful in life, don’t these parents usually show up to demand support from these ‘abandoned’ children?
The role of Religious bodies
Finally, our churches and mosques must also be alive to their social responsibilities. These institutions must have a means of giving back to the society in no small measure. In as much as they are not paying any form of taxes or levies to any government, they should be more involved in getting many of our children into some decent work beyond encouragement on the pulpit. We must get beyond the rhetoric that this or that government is not performing. Churches are also are mini governments of sort. Some of them have congregations far bigger than a district assembly. Instead of engaging in unrealistic selfish, egocentric building projects, the biggest church auditorium, the latest cars and investing in properties and estate projects that are not benefitting church members or mosque goers. We should divert some of these resources that we collect from our members in form tithes and offerings to charitable but economy-supporting projects like bakeries, cottage-industries to be managed by some members of the church who have demonstrated commitment to the work of God but need economic power to remain relevant in life.
Pastors and Imams should not elevate themselves to the position where God has not placed them. We preach in our churches that the economy is not doing well but some of our churches have multiple building projects going on simultaneously, huge current and fixed deposit balances in their various bank accounts while some church members are looking for something to do to make a living.
I will end with this interesting bible passage from the book of Nehemiah chapter 5: 9-12. This is to support my advice is to our religious leaders. The man of God said, and I quote “What you are doing is not right! Should you not walk in the fear of our God in order to avoid being mocked by enemy nations? I myself, as well as my brothers and my workers, have been lending the people money and grain, but now let us stop this business of charging interest. You must restore their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and homes to them this very day. And repay the interest you charged when you lent them money, grain, new wine, and olive oil.” They replied, “We will give back everything and demand nothing more from the people. We will do as you say.” Then I called the priests and made the nobles and officials swear to do what they had promised.
Every one of us must see to it that nation-building is our collective responsibility. It cannot be left in the hands of any foreign donor or investor. That would be injurious to our so-called independence, whether political or economic. It will be an act of irresponsibility on our part if we ran away from taking up this responsibility. We must ensure that this country bounces back to a position of long-term economic prosperity and abundance and not in the distant future.