The deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, told Parliament that Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, warned the West African nation against the ‘begging bowl’ and went on to predict that a deaf ear to his warning will one day plunge the country into economic mess.
Alas, 57 years down the line after his overthrow, Dr. Nkrumah’s prediction has come to pass with Ghana now classified as a high risk debt distress country which needed an external help to salvage it from crashing.
“The Great Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah predicted that the begging bowl will only lead us into indebtedness-well we now know”, the deputy Minority Leader noted while eulogizing Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on the 57th anniversary of his overthrow on February 24, 1966.
A begging bowl is a term used in reference to an earnest appeal for financial help. The Collins Dictionary also explains that, “if a country or organization approaches other countries or organizations with a begging bowl, it asks them for money”.
To Hon. Buah, if Dr. Nkrumah’s predecessors had heeded to the advice of the former Ghanaian leader and also continued to build on his vision or policies and initiatives, Ghana and the rest of the African continent would have been a better place to live in.
As at September 2022, Ghana’s public debt was GHS67.4billion. Out of this amount, 42% was domestic debt while 58% was external debt, according to records by the Bank of Ghana.
This represents more than 100% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta is hoping to bring the ratio down to 55% by 2028 should the country get the external support that it is seeking for.
Ghana is currently before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) seeking for a three-year bailout program worth US$3billion.
To Hon. Buah who is also the NDC MP for Ellembelle, the hard lesson Ghanaians must learn from the Osagyefo Dr. Nkrumah’s overthrow is “never to allow themselves to be deceived into discarding great leaders”, stressing that without the leadership of Dr. Nkrumah, Ghana lost its vision as a country and has since been roaming around for 57 years for the answers to her developmental agenda.
“We never appreciate the value of water, until the well runs dry”, he quoted the American writer, scientist and statesman, Benjamin Franklin, in support of his advice to Ghanaians.
He said it was through the leadership of Osagyefo Dr. Nkrumah that the Tema Harbour and Tema Motorway were constructed. That notwithstanding, it was through the policies and initiatives of the former Ghanaian leader that the Ghanaian currency, the Ghanaian Industrial Holdings Corporation (GIHOC), and the Volta River Project were all established.