Vice-President for Innovation & Technology at Imani Africa has given seventeen reasons why it is amusing and almost insulting for big men like Finance Minister to tell youth to venture into entrepreneurship, insisting that they have not created an enabling environment for entrepreneurs to thrive.
For him, Ghana’s big men stifle innovation and frustrate budding entrepreneurs through their actions and inactions. His comment follows Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta’s advice to graduates to venture into entrepreneurship since government was unable to employ into the public sector. Below are the seventeen reasons he penned about how the political elite (big men) frustrate entrepreneurs in the country:
I find it amusing, almost insulting when Ghanaian big men/women tell the youth to be entrepreneurs. The same big men who hijack the ideas of young ones? The same big men who demand money before signing and approving simple waivers? The same big men who will check your political affiliation before deciding whether you deserve an opportunity? The same big men who when you submit an invoice they force you to inflate it so they take their share even before the work begins?
The same big men who will stall you for 6 months to sign off something that only requires all the due diligence of 2 paragraphs? The same big men who will not put you through with trade attaches at international events so that you can showcase your work abroad? The same big men that will make you sweat and go to meetings upon meetings and wait in receptions for 6 hours while high-heeled Brazilian wiggled girls saunter in and out of offices? The same big men that will refuse to sign approvals for payments for 4 months while capital is locked? The same big men that allow white men to walk straight to big offices and sign deals and tax waivers yet allow guys at GRA and others to tax people like they are punishing them?
The same big men that encourage elite class systems that prevent young people from accessing legal education so young entrepreneurs can have good lawyers available? The same big men that tell you to go into agriculture yet divert state resources to their personal farms in the hinterlands with all the World Bank donor money and think it’s fashionable? The same big men that won’t allow you to operate in certain industries because it only belongs to their cronies and family and friends? These same people who have conspired to create a system of cyclical poverty where they can manipulate masses with pittance and t-shirts and cutlasses so they vote for them?
The same system where they have made import duties so punitive that to even create anything innovative you pay twice what others pay for in even richer countries so they can use the taxes to pay for more debts that they fly in first-class hotels to collect? The same big men who decide every 4 years their ex-gratia payments are more than what teachers earn in 20 years of service with meager pensions and pad up their payrolls with huge loans to drive on horrible roads their negligence in contracting creates, in addition to per diems and travelling abroad for health checkups when people have to cross rivers on motorcycles just to see a doctor 30 kilometers away? The same big men who allow for these things and yet they dress nicely and act like sanctimonious motivational speakers?
Same people who will make you beg and beg and bring family people and other fellow big men just to plead a chance for you to enter the door? Now they want to play victim that the dependence is too much? Who breeds a Rottweiler dog, injects it with rabies and lets it roam around their bedroom and suddenly thinks it’s his neighbor’s fault and he’s rather the victim?