11th March, 1964
MR. SPEAKER, MEMBERS OF THE NAr1oNAL ASSEMBLE,
I have come here today to present to you, and to the people of Ghana, our Seven-Year Development Plan, which when completed, will bring Ghana to the threshold of a modem State based on a highly organised and efficient agricultural and industrial programme.
The main tasks of the Plan are: firstly, to speed up the rate of growth of our national economy. Secondly, it is to enable us to embark upon the socialist transformation of our economy through the rapid development of the State and cooperative sectors. Thirdly, it is our aim, by this Plan, to eradicate completely the colonial structure of our economy. On this occasion, let me take the opportunity here and now to thank all those experienced men and women, Ghanaians and non Ghanaians, who have contributed so much to the preparation of this Plan.
Mr. Speaker, when the Convention People’s Party came to power in 1951, the pace of development was so slow and confused that we decided to speed it up by attempting to implement in five years, the programme of reconstruction which was designed by the colonial administration to take place over a period of ten years. That programme was not a development plan. It was a collection of various individual petty projects that had to be built in preparation for future planning.
At the conclusion of this programme, it became necessary to pause for two years in order to consolidate our position. By the time we reached the stage of implementing the next phase of our programme, it had already become quite clear to us that the only real solution to the reconstruction of Ghana lay in the long run, in the adoption of a socialist and cooperative programme for industry, and the mechanisation and diversification of our agriculture. Our hopes in this regard lay in the Volta River Project, about which 1 will have more to say later on.
Mr. Speaker, this Seven-Year Development Plan which 1 now lay before you is therefore the first really integrated and comprehensive economic plan ever drawn up for Ghana’s development after a thorough examination of our needs and resources. The Plan is designed to give effect to the Party’s Programme of Work and Happiness which has already been accepted by the country. It also embodies a long view of the path which should lead to a self-sustaining economy, based on socialist production and distribution. An economy balanced between industry and agriculture, providing a sufficiency of food for the people, and supporting secondary industries based on the products of our agriculture. In other words, an economy founded securely on the basis of socialist production and distribution.
Our aim, under this Plan, is to build in Ghana, a socialist State which accepts full responsibility for promoting the well-being of the masses. Our national wealth must be built up and used in such a way that economic power shall not be allowed to exploit the worker in town or village, but be used for the supreme welfare and happiness of our people. The people, through the State, should have an effective share in the economy of the country and an effective control over it.
A socialist Ghana must also secure for every citizen, at the earliest possible date, an adequate level of education and nutrition and a satisfactory standard of clothing, housing and leisure.
The Party has always proclaimed socialism as the objective of our social, industrial and economic programmes. Socialism, however, will continue to remain a slogan until industrialisation is achieved. Socialism demands a very different kind of planning and economic structure from the type that was evolved by the colonial administration. This is why in l96l, we set up a Planning Commission and charged it with the responsibility for drawing up this Development Plan which I present to you today as an instalment in the process by which we hope to turn Ghana into the sort of country we envisage.
A socialist State cannot come by itself nor can it be established by the formulation of plans. Socialism has to be worked for and even sacrificed for. Socialism, which is aimed at the emancipation of the people from exploitation, has to be built by the people. It is the expression of the people whose Government accepts responsibility for promoting their welfare to the fullest possible extent.
Our youth from the primary schools, through the secondary schools to the universities and higher institutions of learning, should and must be taught and trained in the socialist philosophy. They must be taught to know the working of neo-colonialism and trained to recognise it wherever it may rear its head. They must not only know the trappings of colonialism and imperialism, but they must also be able to smell out the hide-outs of neo-colonialism.
In this endeavour, we shall expect from each citizen, a maximum contribution to the national economy according to his ability and training. It is only in proportion to the contribution which each of us makes to the work of the Nation that we can expect to share in the material gains which the socialist development of the economy will make possible.
Mr. Speaker, in order to accomplish our objectives, we have decided that the economy of Ghana will, for some time to come, remain a mixed economy in which a vigorous public and cooperative sector will operate along with the private sector. Let me make it clear that our socialist objectives demand that the public and cooperative sector of the productive economy should expand at the maximum possible rate, especially in those strategic areas of production upon which the economy of the country essentially depends.
We are determined that the economic independence of Ghana shall be achieved and maintained so as to avoid the social antagonisms resulting from the unequal distribution of economic power. We are equally determined to ensure that the operation of a mixed economy leads to the socialist transformation we envisage, and not to the defeat of our socialist aims. It is essential, therefore, that we should remind ourselves at all times of the necessity;
• Firstly, to promote to the maximum, the development of the State and cooperative sectors;
• secondly, to regulate the pattern of State investment in order to give the highest priority to productive investment, and
• Thirdly, to determine and direct the forms and conditions of foreign investment, in order to safeguard our socialist policy and national independence.
In this way, we shall ensure that the growth rate of the public and cooperative sector of our economy will exceed the growth rate of the private, sector, particularly in industry and agriculture.
Mr. Speaker, as you know, we have already established many industrial projects and enterprises, as a means of securing our economic independence and assisting in the national control of the economy. I must make it clear that these State Enterprises were not set up to lose money at the expense of the tax payers. Like all business undertakings, they are expected to maintain themselves efficiency, and to show profits. Such profits should be sufficient to build up capital for further investment as well as to finance a large proportion of the public services which it is the responsibility of the State to provide.
In every socialist country, state enterprises provide the bulk of State revenues, and we intend to follow the same pattern here. Our State Enterprises will be set yearly, financial and production targets so that they may work towards definite objectives and goals and thereby given every stimulus to operate efficiently and profitably. Hence, the managers of our State Enterprises, and those in charge of our State organisations and apparatus should be men trained in management; honest and dedicated men; men with integrity; men who are incorruptible.When we have succeeded in establishing these principles, Government will then be in a position to lower taxes progressively, to lessen steadily the burden of taxation on the people and eventually to abolish many of them, if not all of them.
I have set up a State Management Committee to bring these ideas to life and to help in building up strong, well managed, efficient and profitable State enterprises.
I intend, however, that the State Management Committee shall do more than that. I want to ensure that the people of this country are fully informed of Government’s intentions and plans, particularly with regard to industrialisation and agriculture. The people have every right to be fully informed in order that they may know what our objectives are, what progress we are making and how Government funds are being spent in the interest of this country’s economic development.
I am convinced that with this knowledge will come that understanding which will give our people the necessary impetus to do all they can to help achieve our objectives for work and happiness and accelerated development.
Mr. Speaker, foreign investment as the private sector of our industrial development can play an important role in our economy. It has a valuable contribution to make to our economy and to the attainment of certain specific objectives. Among these will be production of consumer goods, the local processing of Ghanaian raw material and the utilization of Ghana’s natural resources in those lines of economic activity where a large volume of investment is required.
We expect, however, that such investments will not be operated so as to exploit our people. On the contrary, we expect such enterprises to assist in the expansion of the economy of the country in line with our general objectives.
Foreign investment enterprises will contribute personal initiative, managerial ability and technical skills towards the development of the country. They will also further the growth of similar initiative, ability, technical skills and habits of saving among Ghanaians.
We welcome foreign investors in a spirit of partnership. They can earn their profits here, provided they leave us an agreed portion for promoting the welfare and happiness of our people as a whole as against the greedy ambitions of the few. From what we get out of this partnership, we hope to be able to expand the health services of our people, to feed and house them well, to give them more and better educational institutions and to see to it that they have a rising standard of living. This in a nutshell is what we expect from our socialist objectives.Mr. Speaker, in pursuing these objectives, we shall exert our efforts towards the maximum extension of the public sector within the productive economy. As I have said, within this framework, we do not intend or desire to limit private investment.
Our Government has always insisted that the operations of all economic enterprises in Ghana should conform to the national economic objectives and be subject to the rules and regulations which are made in pursuance of our socialist policies. Our experience has been that foreign investors have been willing to invest in Ghana so long as the limits within which they can work are fair and clearly defined, and we shall continue to consult with them in order to ensure that cooperation is as full as possible.
Ghana’s economy, particularly at the present stage, has room for all the investment capital which is likely to be provided by foreign investors, by the Central and Local Governments and by individual Ghanaians. In this respect, l believe that there are a considerable number of individual Ghanaians who are in a position materially to assist in finding the necessary capital for the Seven-Year Development Plan.
One of the worst features of colonialism was that it produced an unbalanced economy in which there was little room for investment of the profits which were made by expatriate firms. In colonial days, it was natural that profits made in Ghana should be invested abroad. Today, the situation is entirely different. An investor who lays out his money wisely in Ghana is likely to make a larger profit, than if he invested it in a more developed country. Nevertheless, old habits of investment persist and there are a considerable number of Ghanaians who still maintain their savings in foreign investments and in property outside Ghana.
Under our Exchange Control laws, it is of course, illegal for Ghanaians to have property abroad without having declared this to the appropriate authorities. This aspect of our law is not always understood. The Government has therefore decided not to penalise any Ghanaian firm or individual who, within the next three months, repatriates foreign holdings of money to Ghana, or who declares ownership of foreign property. A thorough investigation is afoot to discover the extent of holdings of foreign exchange and properties by Ghanaians, and those who do not take advantage of this offer, but continues to conceal their foreign assets, must expect, after the three-month period of grace, to be subject to the full rigours of the law.
public utilities, raw materials and heavy industry. The State will also participate in light and consumer goods industries in which the rates of return on capital should be highest. We intend also that those industries which provide the basic living needs of the people shall be State-owned, in order to prevent any exploitation.
Mr. Speaker, Members of the National Assembly, let me now turn to the specific proposals of the Seven-Year Plan. In the next seven years, it is proposed that there will be a total expenditure of one-thousand and sixteen million pounds, that is, over a billion pounds sterling, on development projects in the Plan. Of this total, it is intended that four-hundred and seventy-six million pounds should be provided by the Central Government foreign investors, individual Ghanaians, Local Authorities and the Cooperative sector are expected to invest about four-hundred and forty million pounds. We also hope that individual Ghanaians will contribute nearly one-hundred million pounds worth of direct labour in the construction of buildings, in community development and in the extension of their farms.
The total government investment will be four-hundred and seventy-six million pounds. Investment throughout the Seven-Year Plan period will average one-hundred and thirty million pounds a year. Of this, approximately one half, or sixty-six million pounds a year, will be invested by Government, and the rest by private investors.
We continue to look to the outside world to contribute to our national development. We expect the more advanced and industrialised countries to facilitate our trade in primary commodities and manufactured goods so that we can finance the bulk of our development out of our own resources and earnings.
We hope that where necessary, the Government of Ghana will be able to borrow money on reasonable terms for essential and productive projects. Let me say again that we welcome foreign investors to come and invest in Ghana’s progress. We offer them every assistance, substantial material benefits, and the advantages of a coherent long-term economic strategy which will give them plenty of scope for planning and development. At the same time, we expect them to re-invest an adequate share of their profits in the further progress, both of Ghana and of themselves.
In order to be able to manage these new investments as well as our existing capital with the maximum of efficiency, the country needs a well-trained labour force under competent management. In this sense, the educational programme under the Plan is crucial to the success of the whole Plan. It is directed towards giving education .in Ghana a new and more practical orientation and making it available to all who can profit by it. In order to make real economic progress, Ghana must adopt an improved technology in all lines of production. We look to the educational system and educational institutions to equip our people with the latest advancements in industrial and agricultural technology. We expect our academy of sciences and our research organisations to adapt this technology to the conditions of Ghana. And we look to the managers of our enterprises to adopt the technology which is developed and to foster skills by a maximum programme of “on the job” training.
The development of Ghana has hitherto not been sufficiently balanced between different parts of the country. It is the deliberate policy of this Plan to correct this imbalance. Naturally, we must develop in each part of the country the type of economic activity to which it is best suited by reason of natural resources and geographical location. But a special effort has to be made in order to ensure that the rate of progress in the less favoured parts of the country is even greater than the rate of progress in those sections which have hitherto been more favoured. It is only by this means that we can achieve a more harmonious national development.
In the present Plan period, it is proposed to pay special attention to the modernising of agriculture in the savannah areas of the Northern and Upper Regions. It is hoped through secondary industries based on agricultural raw material, to turn the Northern areas into major sources of food supplies for the whole country. In this regard, the Government has recognised the importance of irrigation and water conservation in the country, and has already initiated far reaching plans for major schemes of irrigation and water conservation. Mr. Speaker, the backbone of Ghana’s agriculture has always been its farmers who, particularly in recent years, have made a fine contribution to the economy and expressed their patriotism in a number of unselfish ways. The developments the Government is proposing in the areas of State and cooperative farming will bring them a share of the local facilities they have so long been denied. More than this: they will have the opportunity also to share in the up-to-date techniques of farming that must be employed, if greater yields and diversity of crops are to be attained.
I want our farmers to understand that the State Farms and Cooperative enterprises are not being encouraged as alternatives to peasant farming. The interests of individual peasant farmers will not be made subservient to those of the State Farms and Cooperatives. We need the efforts of our individual farmers more than ever, along with our State Farms and Cooperatives, if we are to achieve, at an increased pace, the agricultural targets we have set ourselves. We look to our individual peasant farmers for the enlargement of investment in our agriculture.
Mr. Speaker, as I have stressed time and again, the revolution taking place in Ghana is chiefly a revolution of the workers and the tillers of the land. A vital phase of this revolution is the implementation of the Seven-Year Development Plan which aims at the total expansion of all sections of our economy to raise the standard of living of the people of Ghana. I am happy that the workers have demonstrated their complete dedication to our revolutionary cause. Upon the attainment of independence, the Party, as the conscious political vanguard of the Trade Union Movement, worked with the Trade Unions and created a new and more effective structure of the Trades Union Congress. Government supported the desire of the workers for this new Trade Union structure.
Thus, we were able to create in our labour and industrial laws, conditions for resolving quickly and expeditiously, the problems of our working population. This, also, the workers accepted the responsibility to contribute to the economic and social reconstruction of our economy.
In the State sector of our economy, the workers employed in our State Corporations will be afforded full and equal opportunities for participating in the planning and execution of our industrial projects. It is only in this way that the workers will closely identify themselves with the attainment of the economic and social objectives of our new society and will thus equate their own welfare with the prosperity of our country. Such new working relationships will enable the workers to acquire the sense of complete belonging and full participation and they will no longer consider themselves as working for colonialist exploiters. I have given instructions that some of our State enterprises be handed over completely to the workers who will manage them for themselves on behalf of the State.
The success of this Seven-Year Development Plan will only be attained, if the enthusiasm of our workers is mobilized and they know the part they ought to play and are drawn into full consultation in the execution of our Plan.
I therefore call upon all workers, farmers, fishermen and peasants of our country to accept this challenge and fulfil the hopes and aspirations of our people.
Mr. Speaker, when I spoke at the opening of the Unilever Soap Factory at Tema on the 24th August, 1963, l said among other things that, in order to pay tribute to the importance of labour in the development of Ghana, the Government has decided to institute a special Order to be known as the “Order of the Black Star of Labour.” Details of this Order, which will rank among the highest honours of the State, have now been worked out and all classes of labour will qualify for this Order. It is my confident expectation that this award will provide an ample incentive to all workers, and that every worker of the nation will make it his ambition to qualify for the title of Worker of the Year and to become heroes and heroines of Labour.
Mr. Speaker, Members of the National Assembly, I am happy to inform the House that on present estimates, it is confidently expected that the Volta River Project will begin to generate electrical power by September, 1965. On that date, we shall come to the end of one phase of our cherished goal and usher in the beginning of a new and more exciting endeavour to utilise the vast electric power which will be at the country’s disposal for the enrichment of our economy and our people.
Completion of the Volta Project will enable us to develop the industrial potential of Ghana. Indeed, the possibilities for our agriculture and industry will be completely revolutionised. First and foremost, the Volta Project will increase by nearly 500 percent, the installed electrical capacity of the country. Nearly one half of this new capacity will be taken up by the aluminium smelter in Tema. But there will be an ample reserve of power for other users, and Ghana will have liberated herself decisively from the possibility of power shortage becoming again a brake on the rate of economic progress.
I would like in this context to point out the degree to which the Volta Scheme fits into our chosen combination of a mixed economy with socialist and co-operative goals. A major part of the scheme is being financed by the Ghana Government; but the American and British Governments have joined in the financing of it, together with the World Bank, and we have had the most helpful and fruitful collaboration with American enterprise in the shape of the Kaiser Group of Industries.
Meanwhile, our Italian contractors, Impregilo, have achieved the remarkable feat of taking one year off the time of construction of the dam. Throughout the scheme, we have worked together in the greatest harmony. I regard this great scheme as an example of the way in which careful and proper planning together with foreign investment, public control and participation, and the devoted labours of the people can revolutionize the economic base of society.
Such an achievement can have significance far beyond Ghana’s frontiers. It is only by strengthening our economy in this way that we can make an effective contribution to our brothers in Africa and the political unification of our continent. In this endeavour the Seven-Year Plan makes provision for the undertaking of joint enterprises in individual fields of industry and also for the harmonisation of our total programme of economic development with that of other African countries.
The Plan we are launching today, relates to projects and developments which we wish to see take place in Ghana. It grieves me that we in Ghana, who so strongly advocate the unity of the African Continent, should be forced to take so narrow a view of planning. I have advocated for closer union of Africa, times without number. I have emphasised the need for a continental union Government for Africa as the only solution to Africa’s ills and problems. Since the Addis Ababa Conference, it has been made abundantly clear that artificial borders which we inherited from the colonial powers should be made obsolete and unnecessary. While we wait for the setting up of a Union Government for Africa, we must begin immediately to harmonize our plans for Africa’s total development. For example, I see no reason why the independent African States should not, with advantage to each other, join together in an economic union and draw up together a joint Development Plan which will give us greater scope and flexibility to our mutual advantage. By the same token, I see no reason why the independent African States should not have common shipping and air lines in the interest of improved services and economy. With such rationalisation of our economic policies, we could have common objectives and thus, eliminate unnecessary competition and frontier barriers and disputes.
As every day passes, it is becoming clearer and clearer that it is only the establishment of a Union Government of Africa which can save our separate States not only from neo-colonialism, but from imperialism itself. We in Ghana are determined to make our wholehearted contribution towards this objective. We are prepared to make whatever further provisions may be required to enable us to play our part in the achievement and consolidation of African Unity.
Recent events in East Africa and in other parts of Africa have shown how urgent is the need for the establishment of a central machinery for dealing with the serious political and economic questions confronting us in Africa today.
Mr. Speaker, Members of the National Assembly, the object of the Seven-Year Plan which I have out—lined to you is to modernise our agriculture and develop our industry as a basis of our socialist society. I, for my part, am determined that the Plan shall succeed. Its success must rest on the support of each and every one of you and on the devotion and hard work of the officials, Heads of Corporations and Enterprises, whose duty it will be to translate the Plan into action. In the seven years ahead, all our energies must be concentrated on its implementation.
It has long been apparent that the administrative machinery which we inherited was not designed for a country working within the framework of an overall plan, and in which the activities of individual agencies of the nation are directed to clearly defined goals of development. An effective reform of the governmental machinery is therefore needed, if the Seven-Year Plan is not to falter on the inadequacies of administration. The first task in this regard will be to attune more closely, the policies and actions of every agency or organ of Government to the overall national policy as defined in the Seven-Year Development Plan.
I have caused to be published with the Seven-Year Plan, a guide to its implementation. This guide should be studied most carefully by Members of this House, by the Party and Government officials, Managers of State Enterprises, the farmers’ organisation, the Trades Union Congress and all those who will be concerned with the implementation of the Plan.
I have, earlier this month, established several organisations whose responsibility it will be to see to the rapid execution of the Plan. These are, firstly, the National Planning Commission, through which the people will be associated with the Plan, and which will be enlarged to include Ministers, Regional Commissioners, representatives of Corporations and organisations and integral wings of the Party.
Secondly, the State Planning Committee which, under my Chairmanship, will be the key body for co-ordinating action and policy on the Plan, and for giving directions on its execution and implementation.
Thirdly, there is the Budget Committee, which will make recommendations for the policy of the annual budget.
Fourthly, the Foreign Exchange Committee, which will make recommendations regarding the size of yearly imports and exports.
And lastly, though by no means the least, there is the State Management Committee which will direct the operations and activities of State Corporations and State Enterprises in order to ensure their efficient and profitable management.
I am sure that if these five bodies carry out their duties honestly and energetically, we shall achieve and even exceed our goals under this Plan. We might even complete the Plan ahead of schedule that is to say in less than seven years.
Mr. Speaker, all our efforts should henceforth be directed to ensuring that everything is done to make this Plan a success. I am sure that all the people of this country are determined in their efforts to ensure that we achieve all our Plan objectives and make our country a happy, progressive, prosperous and advanced nation. We must therefore ensure that State funds and resources are not frittered away uselessly or wastefully or that they find their way into private pockets.
We shall, in order to implement the Plan, be awarding a number of contracts to organisations both here and abroad; we shall also be entering into sales agreements as well as acquiring goods locally. I intend that all contracts whether for the construction of factories or offices, or for any purchase or sale, should be so safeguarded that our funds will be properly husbanded and utilised for Ghana’s advancement and for the welfare and happiness of the people.
In order that our resources are not waste by corrupt practices and in order to prevent any attempts at personal greed and aggrandisement at the expense of the people and the State, steps will be taken to ensure that no contractor, shall offer or give or agree to give to any person in the service of the Government of Ghana any gift or consideration of any kind as an inducement or reward for doing, or forbearing to do, or for having done any act in relation to the obtaining or execution of any contract for the Government of Ghana, or for showing favour or disfavour to any person in relation to any other contract for the Government of Ghana.
We shall also see to it that no contractor shall enter into any contract with the Government of Ghana in connection with which a commission has been paid or agreed to be paid by him or on his behalf, or to his knowledge, unless before the contract is made, particulars of any such commission and of the terms and conditions of any agreement for the payment thereof have been disclosed in writing to a special committee to be appointed by me to represent the Government of Ghana.
Any breach of these conditions shall entitle the Government to determine any contract, and recover from the contractor the amount of any loss which may have resulted from such determination and the amount or value of any such gifts, consideration or commission.
I have therefore directed that every contract for the supply of goods and services or for the execution of any Government project shall embody clauses to give effect to this decision. These conditions are being made in the interest of the tax payer who ultimately has to find the money to pay for these gifts and bribes.
I want the world to know that we shall do everything to set our own house in order. I want all of us here in Ghana also to realise that nothing must be allowed to hamper our efforts to achieve our Plan objectives and that no individuals will be permitted to hamper that effort, to retard our advancement in any way or to grow rich by corrupt practices. Those who have ears to hear, let them hear. The progress, welfare and happiness of the masses is our supreme concern.
Mr. Speaker, we know that the desire of people is to have enough to eat without spending too great a part of their income upon food. They want a reasonably comfortable place to sleep; they want light, a ready supply of water, education for the growing children and future generation, adequate medical care and welfare services. Our present plan will go a long way to fulfilling these very legitimate desires of the people. The Volta project will provide us with abundant light and water. In addition, a whole programme of irrigation and water development is engaging our attention very seriously.
Housing, too, is one of our main preoccupations. We are at this moment in the last stages of formulating large-scale housing projects, which we hope to have ready soon. A factory for prefabricated concrete units is now under construction and will come into production sometime this year. When these plans are completed, we shall be able to put up low-cost housing to meet the needs of our working people at the rate of about two hundred houses a month. This should go a long way to offset the pressing housing problem.
In transforming the many centres of over-crowded and insanitary housing that at present exist in some areas, we shall look carefully into the traditional community customs of our people and will, wherever it is feasible and possible, try to maintain such communities in their traditional locations, but with a newer, better and more pleasant look.
Mr. Speaker, we would be hampering our advance to socialism, if we were to encourage the growth of Ghanaian private capitalism in our midst. This would, of course, be in antipathy to our economic and social objectives. There are some few among us who are seeking outlets for small enterprises. Such people we appreciate have initiative which it would be well to employ suitably in our socialist undertakings. There are some who have small capital savings which they consider they can profitably employ in business that will provide goods and services which are in public demand. Such small businessmen will be encouraged to operate enterprises provided they accept certain limitations as the Government will find it necessary to impose as to the size of the enterprise and the number of persons to be employed in their undertakings.
In this connection, it is necessary to distinguish between two types of business which have grown up within recent years. The first is the type which it is the Government’s intention to encourage, that of the small businessman who employs his capital in an industry or trade with which he is familiar, and in so doing, fulfils a public need.
The second type is very different. It consists of that class of Ghanaian businesses which are modelled on the old type of colonial exploitation. Individuals, who can command capital, use their money not in productive endeavour, but by the purchase and re-sale, at high prices, of such commodities as fish, salt and other items of food and consumer goods which are in demand by the people. This type of business serves no social purpose and steps will be taken to see that our banking resources are not used to provide credit for this type of business.
Even more harmful to the economy is yet another type of enterprise in which some Ghanaians have been participating. This consists of setting up bogus agencies for foreign companies which are in fact nothing, but organisations for distributing bribes and exerting improper pressures on behalf of foreign companies. lt is the intention of the Government to carry out a wholesale investigation into the activities of these firms. They can do incalculable harm to our economy and they must be ruthlessly suppressed.
The initiative of Ghanaian businessmen will not be cramped, but we must take steps to see that it is channelled towards desirable social ends and is not expended in the exploitation of the community. The Government will encourage Ghanaian businessmen to join with each other in cooperative forms of organisation. In this way, Ghanaian businessmen will be able to contribute actively in broadening the vitality of our economy and cooperation, and will provide a stronger form of organisation than can be achieved through individual small businesses.
We must also discourage anything that can threaten our socialist construction. For this reason, no Ghanaian will be allowed to take up shares in any enterprise under foreign investment. On tile contrary, we shall l encourage our people with savings to invest in the State sector and cooperative undertakings. I know that among our Ghanaian businessmen, there are some who are ready and willing to turn their businesses into cooperative undertakings. Where well run private enterprises are offered to and taken over by the State or cooperative undertakings, we hope that businessmen will offer themselves as managers and administrators.
In the same way, Mr. Speaker, I want to refer to money-lending which, along with other problems, has been left to us by colonialism. I know that many of those who are carrying on this business of lending money at criminal rates of interest are non-Ghanaians. But, unhappily, not a few of our own people have joined the ranks of those who make quick and easy money out of the difficulties and misery of others. Money-lending and usury are intolerable and inconsistent with the ideals of a socialist state. We should see to it that this practice is eliminated from our society.
Mr. Speaker, Members of the National Assembly, I am sure that imbued with the spirit of the Party’s programme of Work and Happiness, all those who are responsible for the interpretation and implementation of this Plan will do their work honestly and devotedly. It may be that, in the course of the next seven years some of us will from time to time attempt to change the choice of emphasis that we have made and try to direct proportionately more of our national resources into immediate welfare services and proportionately less into agriculture and industry. It will be the duty of those who are charged with the implementation of the Plan to ensure that these pressures are resisted. Otherwise, we shall end up in the long run with an economy weak in its productive base and backward in its level of technology.
The Seven-Year Development Plan can only be accounted a success, if by 1970, the year in which we conclude the Plan and the year in which we celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of our Republic, we can truly say that the productive base of the economy has been revolutionised and that the level of technology and productivity in Ghana is approaching modem standards over the adequate area of the national economy.
Mr. Speaker, Members of the National Assembly, 1964, the year in which we launch the Seven-Year Development Plan, will be hailed as the turning point in the history of Ghana. In a little over a year from now, we shall be generating electricity from the Volta River Project to feed our expanding factories throughout the country. The Kwame Nkrumah Steel Works in Tema will soon be completed. Tema Harbour itself is already being extended to meet the needs of our expanding economy, and in Tema a growing number of industrial projects are already in production and more are being established. In this connection, I want to mention, particularly, the Aluminium Smelter which will produce aluminium for domestic consumption and export, the Dry Dock and Ship Repair
Yard which will be one of the finest and biggest in Africa and the Accra Tema Freeway, which will provide fast and safe travelling between the capital and the port of Tema.
I can already see, in my mind’s eye, a picture of Ghana as it will be by the end of the Plan period. I see a State with a strong and virile economy, its agriculture and industry buoyant and prosperous, an industrialised nation serving the needs of its people.
Let us therefore, as from today, move forward together, united in devotion and determination, to give of our best in the execution and implementation of this Seven-Year Plan.
Mr. Speaker, Members of the National Assembly, it gives me a great pleasure on this historic occasion, and in this House, to launch our Seven-Year Development Plan.
I now leave you to your deliberations. May you continue to be guided by Providence in the highest interests of our Nation.
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