In Ghana today, we live in terrible times. We are a nation heading for the precipice with our eyes wide open expecting a bridge to appear miraculously to prevent us from falling down a yawning valley.
Every facet of our national life is saddle with all sort of untoward happenings, a situation that is not healthy for national development.
Not too long ago, the first black President of the United States of America (USA), Barrack Hussein Obama, visited Ghana, immediately after his election, when he addressed Parliament, he told us to build strong institutions and not strong personalities.
It is not only when we are buried that we are dead, we are dead the day, we decide not to give a hoot about what our actions could do to the next person.
Parliament is one of the institutions that is difficult to criticize, just like the Judiciary, because these two arms of government, are the conscious of our society. So how well do you tell them that they have betrayed our trust?
Every law or act in Ghana has been enacted by Parliament, it only become operational after Presidential has passed it, but the debate, consideration stage and the passage is done by the August House. Their work become binding on the government and the people of Ghana.
This is why they are always called upon to lead the way in getting the government to implement or adopt a particular policy or programmes.
We have always admitted that the problem of our under-development is because we have all developed or acquired taste for foreign goods, this unfortunate situation has compelled many small businesses, which hitherto used to manufacture things here, to close their shops and also join the bandwagon of importation and selling.
We have every year calculated and talked about our trade imbalance, where we import more than we export to the detriment of our local businesses.
This is the reason a lot of Civil Society Groups are kicking against African leaders signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), with the European Union. They are not against us trading and opening our markets to the Europeans, but they fear our companies, will be crowded out of business.
We do not have the technical capacity and financial muscle to compete favourably, besides the trade barriers our business face and will face when we export to their countries.
Parliament was expected to lead the way in that direction, they have done it before, when they always put the nation first, what happened this time around, when a commodity that is widely produced in every part of the country, could not be bought here, regardless of how soon they .wanted it.
What saddens me is that, the Speaker of Parliament, comes from the Volta Region, and aside the region been an educogenic region, the main skill of the people is carpentry. The people from the Volta extraction are the best carpenters in the country; they produce the best furniture that can be compared to any from any part of the world, much less than China.
It is disheartening to learn that instead of Parliament passing a legislation that every State Institution must of law, buy made in Ghana goods. They could only buy from outside Ghana, if the thing is beyond the capacity of our people. Quality and price, should not be the reason, why we should buy from outside, and if we don’t buy quality one day the economics of scale has thought us that when all the factors of production are right, prices will automatically come down.
The money to buy the furniture is for Ghanaians and so it must remain in the pocket of Ghanaians, everything we buy from outside Ghana, we put money in the pockets of the citizens of the countries we are buying from.
The Chinese under no circumstance will they allow us to export furniture into their country, if wood is what is used to manufacture furniture, I stand to be corrected, do they have better wood than us. Even if they do, the purchase cannot be justified, defended or rationalized.
The President John Dramani Mahama, many will not know is finding it difficult to raise money, especially from the European Union, because of his home grown policies. The EU is threatening to withdraw their budgetary support because the President is trying to put Ghanaians and Ghanaian businesses first.
Early this year, the President was at the August House, to read his State of the Nation Address, he appeared in an all made in Ghana wear, he entreated all the citizenry to endeavour to not only promote, but also buy and wear made in Ghana. He made this appeal in Parliament, and so it is surprising that when Parliament had the opportunity to live by the maxim of buying made in Ghana goods, they chose to import from them from China.
How proud can our representatives in Parliament feel, when they sit in their chairs to deliberate on issues that affects all of us, will they feel proud or ashamed, knowing full well that the chairs they are sitting on to pass laws, bills etc that will impact on Ghanaians is imported from elsewhere.
As if that is not enough, because they have come out to say that the time they had to import the furniture was too short, granted that, that is the case, what explanation they have for wanting to import from Italy to furnish the Job 600 building.
We are either part of the problem or part of the solution, which side of history, will our current Members of Parliament stand, when the story of promoting the made in Ghana goods is written. Will they have the moral right to contribute or criticize somebody, who also decides to import?
They have various Committees that oversee how our monies are spent by State institutions, can they compel any of them to try and buy made in Ghana goods?
They have set a bad precedence that will come back to haunt them in the not too distant future.