MULTI TELECOMMUNICATIONS Network (MTN), the leading 16-year-old African Telecommunications company with over 501 million combined subscribers in its operational regions spanning 21 countries in Southern Africa, West and Central Africa and Middle East, North and East Africa and which company took over Scancom, operators of Areeba in Ghana some few years back, is said to have had approximately US$ 16 billion in revenue from its operations in Ghana in 2009.
The market capital of MTN is approximately US$28 billion and twice the size of Ghanaâ€™s Gross Domestic Product (GDP.) From the above, MTNâ€™s market capital is obviously bigger than the GDP of Ghana which currently stands at just above US$12.9 billion.
Dr. Douglas Boateng, a South Africa-based Ghanaian and an unwavering PanAfricanist committed to making a real and sustainable difference in Ghana and the sub region who lamented on the situation, said Ghana, on the other hand, is over 50 years old and yet there is no single locally grown and owned company that has revenues close to US$1 billion even though natural resources abound and continue to directly and indirectly contribute to multi-billion dollar international organizations like ADM, UNILEVER, ANGLOGOLD, Cadbury’s EDF, among others.
Dr. Boateng who was in Kumasi to launch West African Institute for supply chain leadership at the KNUST Business School, the first of its kind in the sub-region with a relentless ambition to be the de facto hub for supply chain human capital training and education centre of excellence within 5 years for Governments, their Ministries, NGO, State owned enterprise and private sector organizations, told TRUTH that said there has to be a fundamental paradigm shift to turn things around and pointed to supply chain management as a way out.
According to Dr. Boateng, Founder and CEO of Panafest International and President of Panafest Foundation, unless supply chain management concept is adopted, future generations in another 50 years shall still be talking about the same thing while the government goes around the world with a bowl begging for financial help and aid to supplement our national budget.
He has called on Ghanaians to assist in efforts at creating a de facto hub for supply chain human capital training and education centre of excellence. â€œWe are all duty bound to make this country a much better place for the future generations,â€ Dr. Boateng said adding that socio-economic transformation it is not about NDC or NPP or CPP or any of the parties. â€œIt is about Ghana and her future generations,â€ he said.
According to him, history had taught him that the current infatuation with oil was not going to solve our problems. â€œit will most likely not because we have not relatively managed to use the cocoa, gold, manganese human capital, bauxite, fertile soil to redress the serious socio-economic imbalances in our society,â€ he said . Dr. Boateng said if the Government is serious about addressing socio-economic problems and industrialization it must look at creating a chemical industry by starting o think supply chain management to be able to look at things from a different and long term perspective.
He suggested that the government should seriously consider corporatizing state-owned entities before privatizing them through supply chain management because the practice of privatizing them for next to nothing is not doing our country any good. â€œIf the government wants to continue with the art of state asset disposals they must openly and transparently sell to locals via empowerment,â€ Dr. Boaeng recommended saying the current practice of selling off non-performing state owned assets has so far yielded relatively no benefits for society as a whole.
He said the issue has always been the interference and mostly the â€œappointment of square pegs in round wholesâ€ adding that if there is limited interference from Government and competent and capable people are appointed and incentivized things will change in a relatively short space of time for these entities. Dr. Boateng noted that the Ghanaian economies are too small hence he need to revisit the dream of our founding fathers in building diversified industrial conglomerates like GIHOC.
He urged he government to start agglomerating certain organizations in selected verticals including transport to build strong balance sheets to go and borrow money needed to fix and improve these infrastructures. â€œThe principle of breaking up into small pieces for better management does not work for smaller economies like ours. So far it has not worked for us and the Government of Ghana must consider a U-turn for the sake of the future generations,â€ he said.
Dr. Boateng also suggested that the private sector must also learn to work through partnerships so that stronger and bigger balance sheets can be created. He described Dr Nkrumah as an incredible visionary who foresaw these potential problems and found an antidote in industrialization and tackled it with the establishment of GIHOC for processing and value add; the Akosombo DAM for electricity, the Universities as industrial human capital feedback.
The industrialization vision plus our fortunes as a country started to go south with the unfortunate coup dâ€™Ã©tat in 1966 resulting in Ghanaâ€™s present predicament where GIHOC and associated companies are all virtually dead and sold off without managing to create major industrial alternatives.
The result, he noted, is that we are declared HIPC, we lost our position as the leading producer of cocoa, most state-owned enterprises continue to be sold to foreign companies because Ghanaians do not have the balance sheets to borrow, and /or there is lack of trust in the Ghanaian evidenced in our shops being filled with exports like biscuits from Sri Lanka, Cakes from Italy and Canada and Fruit juices from Cyprus, among others. Dr. Boateng indicated that Industrialization is a long term initiative and that the four year democratic cycle is not helping matters pointing out that the NDC has already started campaign for 2012 instead of the NDC focusing on building long term structures.
He said the use of 7-year planning cycles by Dr. Nkrumah was quite right and reasonable and called on policy makers to review and extend our democratic cycles to seven years for the President and say five years for the parliamentarians so that a bit more time could be spent on focusing on the economy rather than on politicking to stay in power.
According to him shorter cycles tend to work for the developed economies pointing to the remarkable achievement of South Africa over the last 15 years which comes as a function of continuity because there is virtually one party in power unlike the case of Ghana.