I could not hide my joy on the day the Ministry of Business Development was announced. Some Colleagues in my office began calling me Minister for Business Development, obviously because I lead the business development function of my company.
For me the absence of this ministry over the years created a vital missing link and was an indication that government has little or no hunger for business development in this country. Former President Kufuor created a Ministry for Private Sector Development & PSI, but It’s as if the politicians see the creation of a ministry as an end to itself and for that matter an achievement. So they create a ministry that will make us hail them and that’s the end.
I pray the creation of Ministry of Business Development does not become an achievement just by its creation. I look forward to seeing the good fruits of this ministry. Ask anyone who holds a title like “General Manager for Business Development, Head of Business Development, or Executive Director in charge of Business Development” and they will tell you how clear their deliverables are and how they have to achieve results in spite of all the constraints.
I want to beg the president to listen to this minister more and try to deal with some of the numerous constraints that structures and systems will impose on this minister to make him fail. Let me add that business development is about sustained long term profitability and so the minister will need some little honeymoon before he starts delivering results.
But this letter is to the Ministers of Business Development and Trade & Industry. I have a request. I want the two gentlemen to work together to do this for Ghana. What is my request?
We are about 27 million people living in this country. That is a 27million market size and that’s no small a market size. Imagine all the 27 million Ghanaians are wearing only made in Ghana. This Economy’s GDP could double; graduate unemployment could be wiped out; Importers of used clothes will become ‘big time’ distributors.
All you need is to push for a legislation that says in 2 years’ time, we all shall wear made in Ghana. From that day this legislation is passed into law, several major fabric factories around the world would set up operations in Ghana. So you need two years for them to set up the factories, sign on their distributorships and all the pre-production work to start production before the legislation is enforced. You will see several Ghanaian entrepreneurs entering the industry. All these tailors/seamstresses would be trained to become more reorganised and become customer centred and deliver higher value.
If we are really serious about industry, and desire to see manufacturing and industry become a major contributor to our GDP and lead other sectors to fast track their growth, let us look inward and legislate into law the wearing of made in Ghana.
One critical success skill of a Business Development professional, and for this matter the minister, is the ability to work cross functionally. Thus the two ministers will have to work cross functionally with other ministries like Lands to acquire an enclave for fabric factories. You can call it the ‘Fabric Enclave”. There are so many other ministries they will need to work with to succeed. Consultation with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) will further enhance the success of this project.
The fact is that the idea of legislating the wearing of African fabric will be opposed by many. If you like wearing suite like me, you will feel the pinch. But that opposition is expected. Almost every great new idea becomes first unpopular before it is accepted when its fruits are beginning to show. The fact is we are a society with unbridled appetite for foreign made things. We love a class system because it separates the ‘boys from the men’ and grants worship to the rich. It is this attitude that led our country to become a Toyota V8 and Prado lovers. One V8 costs more than a 6-unit classroom block. Check it! But let me digress, it’s difficult to talk about V8 and Prados without being emotional. It’s not just the politicians. Go to ministries and quasi agencies and it has become fashionable. The Car parks have become like a rally call for V8s and Prados.
So an appeal to Ghanaians to forget about foreign fashion and only wear made in Ghanaian is just the same as appealing to drivers to drive carefully on the road. It won’t work! The solution: legislate it! Let all 27 million people ( workers, bankers, doctors, lawyers, Judges, accountants, MPs, pastors, students, famers, house wives, children, babies etc.) wear made in Ghanaian fabric, Monday to Sunday. The whole nation, the whole economy from banking, insurance, health, agriculture, service, real estate will begin to boom up through the multiplier effect.
We can solve our problems! Our 27 million market size is enough a blessing from God. I have not read the full bible, but God never said some people perish for lack of money. No one perishes for lack of money. It’s lack of knowledge. We are perishing as a nation when we have all the solutions with us. As one wise man said, believing God for things you can do for yourself is limiting God.
My honourable ministers for Business Development, and Trade & Industry, perhaps this could be the golden opportunity to cure our numerous problems. Let it be written, “Nkrumah brought political independence, Alan and Mohammed have brought economic independence”.
Author: Jacob K. Ganye
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