When President Hilla Limann of Ghana took over from a military regime in 1979, his new civilian government inherited massive inflation, widespread shortages of food and serious decline in farming production.
GV Dock sacks of sugar
GV Sugar being unloaded from ship and onto trestle (2 shots)
GV Forklift truck taking sugar bags along dock to warehouse (3 shots)
GV Street traders
GV Sugar being unloaded lorry
GV General store
GVs INT People walking around empty shelves (3 shots)
GV Some foodstuffs on sale in shop and man inspecting chicken in freezer (2 shots)
CU Bottles of spirits for sale PAN FROM hardware goods TO bottles on shelf (3 shots)
GV People queueing to get on truck (3 shots)
GV HIGH ANGLE PAN Market
GV Woman buying sugar in market (3 shots)
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Background: When President Hilla Limann of Ghana took over from a military regime in 1979, his new civilian government inherited massive inflation, widespread shortages of food and serious decline in farming production. Since then, Dr. Limann claims to have been laying a firm foundation for the future in his moves to restore economic and administrative stability.
SYNOPSIS: But for most Ghanaians, life is still desperately hard. Most imported goods, including tinned meat and fish, rice, milk and sugar, are either unobtainable, or sell at well above controlled prices. The economy has almost ground to a halt after 10 years of mismanagement by successive military governments. Malnutrition and petty crime have been rapidly increasing.
For the past three years, Ghana's inflation rate has averaged over 100 percent a year -- the national currency is now worth only about one-fifteenth of its 1970 value. President Limann's first task was to get the economy moving again. He began a policy of allocating import licenses only when foreign exchange was available to cover them. And, to raise morale in the country, the government decided to raise the minimum wage by 300 percent last November.
But serious conditions of poverty still remain. Almost every necessity of life is available only at black market prices. In the government stores, where goods are sold at controlled prices, there are empty shelves. The wage of an average government clerk is about 180 cedis (about 66 U.S. dollars) a month, not a high income in West Africa. It will cost him four days' wages to buy a dozen eggs.
One of the main reasons for Ghana's depressed economy is the sharp drop in the in the price of cocoa, the country's main foreign exchange earner. But it is gold which could provide an answer to the country's economic ills. In past 20 years, its production has dropped dramatically. Now President Limann has plans to rebuild the industry, and has called for assistance from foreign investors. Reserves of gold in Ghana are so big that the government believes production could eventually rival that of South Africa. The country's supplies have remained largely untouched. Overseas investment could exploit this valuable commodity, giving the economy a badly-needed boost.
Investigations have revealed that Ghana's gold is of a higher quality, and is more accessible than South Africa's. Mining costs would actually be cheaper. The full exploitation of its resources could restore something of what is described as Ghana's golden past.