Why Ghanaians should patronize made-in-Ghana goods and services

By Mawutodzi Kodzo Abissath

Listen to the wisdom of our ancestors, which is reflected in this Ghanaian proverb thus:  “A prince or princess does not rush out to go and watch the King in the street!”


Ghanaians are so religious that even Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed (Peace be unto him) would be yellow with envy when they visit Ghana one of these days soon. As for my Christian brothers and sisters, they have virtually turned themselves into ubiquitous evangelists. Every available public space is a preaching sanctuary. They preach in chop bars, buses, tro-tros, locomotives, canoes, and what have you? The only place I am yet to see them preaching is on a helicopter or aboard domestic flights from Accra to Kumasi. Most of them too don’t seem to know how to speak in parables like the Master Jesus did.


On Monday, November 23, 2015, something spectacular happened in the history of trade and industry in Ghana. It was on that day that MADE IN GHANA GAMPAIGN was officially launched in the country. When President John Dramani Mahama was propounding the theory of made-in-Ghana campaign at the launch, with Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Trade and Industry Minister giving him that solid moral support, my mind went back to Allan Kyremanteng the then holder of that portfolio in President Kufuor administration who also launched Friday-wear concept.


 The difference is that this Government campaign is more holistic in scope and encompasses all sectors of the national economy. But the crux of the matter is that all Ghanaian leaders are desirous of encouraging Ghanaians to patronize indigenous Ghanaian goods and services, be it food or clothing or footwear and of late Kantanka vehicles etc.


But the object of this article is not to support President Kufuor or President Mahama or even the late Dan Lartey of domestication fame. On the contrary this author wishes to prick the conscience of Ghanaians as to why they should NOT patronize made in Ghana goods and services at all. Why?


Why should Ghanaians patronized made in Ghana goods and services? Don’t they know that if they do so they would be contributing to the socio-economic advancement of the country? Why should they do that? Who wants Ghana to advance sociologically and economically anyway? How can food and second-hand cloth importers make money if Ghanaians patronize made in Ghana goods and services?  Perhaps, a simplistic analogy may illustrate my argument better: 


  Supposing your biological parents were running some traditional cottage textile industry like kente or fugu-weaving business before you were born. Your parents never had the opportunity to go to school so the traditional indigenous technology they inherited from their own parents is what they have been using and are able to send you to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi a.k.a. Kumasi Legon.


Having studied modern technology in textile industry, will you use your scientific and technological expertise to modernize and expand your parent’s cottage industry upon completion of your course for the advancement of your family, society and   nation as a whole? If yes, why? And if no, why not?


Respected reader, shall we move the analogy further on a national scale to involve Ghana as a nation? Let’s take Ghana as our parents. And these parents of ours are wealthy as Ghana is very, very rich and endowed with natural and human resources.  Thus, whatever belongs to Ghana belongs to us the children. Ghana has gold, diamond, bauxite, cocoa, arable lands, rivers, lakes, and now oil and gas. So, as children of Ghana, do we have to abandon these resources and be chasing after other people’s resources even at the peril of our lives?


Realistically too, living in a globalized world, we cannot also say that we will not use other people’s goods and services at all. But what can we do to improve upon our own goods and services so that we can patronize what belongs to us as a people? It is from this viewing window that I should like beautiful people of Ghana to view the national MADE IN GHANA CAMPAIGN strategy.


Why should Ghanaians be characterized as “foreign-goods-prone-creatures?” In other words, why do most Ghanaians normally tend to prefer foreign goods to those   made in Ghana? Is it a psychological problem or colonial mentality syndrome, or both?  The reader should meditate on this rythorical question. But it is not enough to say Ghanaians should buy made-in-Ghana goods. If they are not doing so why?


 On the day the MADE IN GHANA CAMPAIGN was launched, Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry produced a magnificent programme brochure in which the rationale behind the campaign was elaborated. On page 9 of the booklet a list of some Made-in-Ghana Priority Products were published. They included Poultry Products, Tomatoes, Textile & Garments, Cement, Roofing Sheets, Nails, Furniture, Pharmaceuticals, Printing, Steel Products, and Processed Foods. Others were Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Fruit Juice, Rice, Biscuits, Paints, Shoes, Electricals Bulbs, Electric Cables, Electric Meters, Ceiling Materials and Cosmetic Products.


What fascinated me most was the crafty and psychedelic logo with the red, gold and green star on a black circle background with inscription: Premium Quality. That logo reminds me of Fair Trade logo in Europe. In Europe any product like banana, coffee, cocoa or chocolate that bears the Fair Trade logo is of unique quality, produced in a prescribed hygienic environment.


I suggest that the Standards Sub-committee of MADE IN GHANA CAMPAIGN should   ensure that the made in Ghana logo will live up to its accolade- PREMIUM QUALITY! And if Ghanaians want Ghana to advance sociologically and economically, they should NOT   patronize made-in-Ghana goods and services. Period!

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