Statesman, Sam Esson Jonah has entreated government to empower the citizenry to get interested in ownership around strategic and crucial sectors of the country.
The seasoned businessman explained that the phenomenon where foreign nationals control a huge chunk of industries locally leaves much to be desired as far as Ghana’s economic structure is concerned.
Speaking at a public lecture with Rotarians in Accra on Thursday, he lamented the inability of the country to boast of adequate Ghanaian ownership in the conglomerates dictating the pace in top-tier areas such as banking, oil & gas, mining, industry among others.
In his speech themed ‘Down the Up Escalator: Reflections on Ghana’s Future by a Senior Citizen,’ Sir Sam Jonah lamented that the major drivers of the Ghanaian economy “are often predominantly foreign-owned, and Ghanaians own little in these sectors.”
While acknowledging some effort on the part of government, the statesman believes there remains a long way to go.
Citing teachable shortfalls in Malaysia’s ‘Bumiputra’ policies and South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment Programme, Mr Jonah advocated conscious attempts to rid these government efforts of selfish interests in its bid to take control of local resources.
According to him, “even though these programmes were well-intended, their implementation gave room for political patronage and clientelism leading to the consequences noted above.”
In empowering locals in this direction, Sam Jonah believes ills such as “political patronage or ‘create, loot and share’ schemes disguised as investments” must be eschewed.
“Tribal and ethnocentric considerations, family affiliation and friendships must not be the defining routes to gain business opportunities,” he added.
He called for a re-evaluation of the country’s economy adding that “no country has attained the height of development unless the major drivers of the economy are owned and controlled largely by the citizenry.”