Since the Government delegation led by HE the vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia returned from China, there has been a lot of speculation as to what he achieved. Dr. Bawumia is no doubt happy with the results of his trip, and his team needs to be congratulated. As is expected, the Parliamentary opposition party the NDC has also gone to town in a big way throwing its weight in a manner unbefitting of a parliamentary opposition.
What we ought to consider now is whether the China Loan will bring youth employment, housing, and welfare relief for the poor in Ghana.
China has pledged some $15 billion dollars to fund “Ghana’s massive economic transformation agenda” with the promise of a further $4 billion to be committed for various development projects across the country. Dr. Bawumia calls these “joint venture proposals” which will draw on less than 5% of Ghana’s Bauxite reserves. Economist need to ask what has happened to our bauxite since independence. In the VALCO project Kaiser of the United States refused to refine our Bauxite.
To say that Ghanaians are suffering is an understatement. Our soldiers lack decent and affordable accommodation, school children are sitting in classrooms that are likely to collapse on them, maternal mortality is high, while youth unemployment is rising daily, while some roads are not fit for purpose. Any Government with a pro-poor policy has to look at our situation and see what can be done. Is there an alternative to the China loan? Certainly not the IMF alternative.
The difference between the Bawumia approach and that of the last NDC Government is also the openness of the Bawumia approach. Dr. Bawumia and the Government he represents has put all the cards on the able, they did not go to China on a jolly ride. So we know what happened, at least some of it. In the past, such trips have been shrouded in secrecy.
China has its interests and we have our own, where there is a convergence, we should take advantage. In all this we should be mindful of the fact that in the end, Ghanaian interest should be our priority. We of Public Agenda will withhold judgement, only hoping that the loan will not be an opportunity for the criminal groups and their big egos to deprive the good people of Ghana some relief. We do not believe that even the NPP thinks this will solve all our problems, but it is the beginning.
Some serious work has gone into this China deal. We thank the Chinese Government for listening to our leaders and offering some help. We congratulate Dr. Bawumia and his team for a job done well.
Let the whole nation put partisan interests aside and support the government, monitor the use of this joint venture initiative and ensure that it impacts positively on the current generation and the next. In the meantime, let the work begin.