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Opinions of Thursday, 22 November 2018

Columnist: Nii Ayitey Armah

Scale of preference: a government of misplaced priorities

President Akufo-Addo President Akufo-Addo

People always must make choices because resources are narrow and scarce. Due to scarcity of resources and never ending needs of individuals, the concept of scale of preference is important.

Scale of preference is a concept that drives to satisfy the needs and wants of individuals in order of their priority and importance. It is a study of all factors which directly influence human life and society and include statistics, maths, many physical sciences as well as politics and law.

Prioritization by government is very critical to the wellbeing of the ordinary people. The scale of preference of every government must satisfy and reflect the needs and wants of its people. Unnecessary hardships are created when the priorities of government are misplaced as we see now.

At the time when unnatural deaths were hitting this country due to no bed syndrome, lack of ambulances in our hospitals, sanitation issues, lack of foot bridges and streetlights on our roads, this government sees building a national cathedral at a cost of $100million as priority among priorities. What direct benefit will we gain from building national cathedral at this current state we find ourselves as a country? The amount allocated for the construction of the national cathedral can help solve an immediate problems like foot bridges on the Madina-Adenta highway and traffic lights on the same stretch.

This same government prioritize the creation of six new regions at the cost of GH?923million and a further GH?120million seed money at the expense of the numerourous developmental challenges faced by the existing regions. If this agenda is really to promote development as indicated by government, why won't those amounts be invested in the existing regions to curb their developmental challenges? Where do we go wrong as a country to always make wrong choices at critical moments?

Again, government policy of free SHS is a great one by all standards. However, wrong priorities have made its implementation fraught with challenges and hardships on students and parents. Prior to its implementation, the managers of the economy should have considered the upgrade of existing infrastructures and construction of new ones in second cycle schools as its priority. If government have prioritize infrustructure in the SHS, the numerous challenges faced in the SHSs will be minimized. Government rather prefer a dubious $89million Kelni GVG deal, $2.5million useless GhanaPost GPS App and others. The misplaced priorities by government is what has brought the shift system in the second cycle schools, which will eventually cripple our educational system.

Further, if the one district, one factory policy have being on top of government's scale of preference list, the unemployment problem in the country would have been minimized. The dream of every progressive government is to develop home-grown factories which would help reduce importation, reduce unemployment, help the cedi's fight against the dollar and further reduce the balance of trade deficit faced by 3rd world countries. Government rather prioritize investing in fraudulent $1.2billion Ghana Card which will not address the immediate needs of citizens, GH?1.5billion to run the presidency and leaving the 1D1F policy due to lack of funds. Do we really have priorities as a country?

Government in it preferences put development of Sky-Trains as its next priority infrastructure. This is a very good initiative to help curb the traffic situation in the capital city. You only ask yourself, is this our priority as a country now? A big no. This is the time where farm produce are left to rot in the hinterlands due to transportation challenges; this is the time our railways system are at a sorry state and needs much attention; this is the time rail lines do not reach the farming areas creating problems in transporting farm produce; this is the time when broken rail lines are not monitored and as a result, most metals have been stolen by scrap dealers; this is the time we still don't have enough trains in the system. What is government priority then?

Housing/shelter is a basic need according to Maslow, but this government do no see it as such. This is evident in the neglect of the almost completed Saglemi Housing project started by the previous government. This is at the time when our security and other governmental agencies are faced with housing problems. Government rather prioritize renovation of 2 bedroom house of CEO of Ghana Maritime Authority at a cost of GH?1.1million, building a national cathedral at a cost of $100million as well as demolishing already existing government bungalows to pave way for the Asesegua Cathedral.

Finally, CHOICES ARE THE HINGES OF DESTINY. Therefore the choice we make in terms of priorities should reflect the needs and wants of the citizens not individuals and selected section of the people. On this note, I urge this government to consider the wellbeing of the people in policy prioritization since the people are those affected when misplaced priorities are made.

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