BY ALHAJI ALHASAN ABDULAI
After reading the article by Dr Raziel Obeng-Okon Chief Executive officer of CIDAN investments limited on line, I got to know that indeed there are enough men and women in Ghana capable of helping to redeem the nation’s ailing economy.
His suggestion that Ghana must adopt the “bottom-up approach” is not only appropriate but also timely. It is the surest way of galvanizing all available resources in the agricultural and small and medium level industries and trading fields for national development.
Assuming we are able to go back to the policy of Operation Feed Yourself and Industries which was launched and implemented by General Acheampong’s government in the 70s, we would be able to feed ourselves and our industries and export the surplus for foreign cash. We could also be in a position to revive and promote our agro based industries processing tomatoes, oranges pineapples and other fruits, cassava and salt.
To be able to achieve this aim Dr Obeng-Okon rightly pointed out that there must be a national strategy to back this noble idea.
We suggest that this be done without delay.
We suggest that “grassroots approach to national development” be designed, developed and implemented as a national program. For a start CIDAN must set up a coalition of likeminded individuals and organizations. This body must be charged with organizing the people in towns and villages to buy into the idea of setting up village town and area development organizations throughout Ghana.
The local organizations must be made to be on their own by bringing together farmers, fishermen, tailors and owners of cottage industries together. They as individuals and groups must be encouraged to open bank accounts to be able to save incomes from their work and access loans to improve their undertakings.
The government through the ministry of local Government, Agriculture and Ministry of Gender should assist these organizations financially. The government has a responsibility to seek foreign funding to support this venture.
Currently this strategy is being practiced on a small scale by churches working with other bodies in all parts of the country. These civil society organizations are busy raising funds through their members to build police stations, school buildings, health centers and other important facilities for the people.
A case in point is a police station built by the council of churches in Ashongman estates Accra where the people were able to put up a police station for the area. In most parts of Accra and regional and district centers the people have come together to put up similar facilities including schools and health centers.
If properly planned the towns and villages could intensify their activities in agriculture agro processing and cottage industries. But for the efforts of our farmers Ghana would have been worse off in food production.
After reading this we suggest that CIDAN take the lead in this crusade for national development. We shall avail ourselves to support in setting up a coalition and getting the government to offer assistance. That assistance would be rewarding for Ghana and its people. The time has come for government to rely on the people and not the other way round.
EANFOWORLD FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
ALHAJI A ABDULAI firstname.lastname@example.org /email@example.com 233 20 8844791