Feature Article of Sunday, 1 July 2012

Columnist: Edusei, Eric K.

RE: Ghana’s Economy Is Among The 10 World’s “Worst”

- Forbes Magazine

There is an untold story about a devout Christian who asked God why He has endowed a tiny country like Ghana with abundant natural resources ranging from gold, diamonds, bauxite, manganese, beautiful lakes to ‘black ‘oil, and God quietly answered by saying that “ you wait and see the behavior of the kind of people I will put there”. Lo and behold, after 55 years of independence, we are still living as puppets, peeing on the road sides and defecating in authorized areas with impunity. On a more serious note, we are entangled in a web of economic mess , being managed by sharks (vampires) who cannot think beyond their noses other than their pockets alone. It is not surprising that we have been assessed and classified as the 9th WORST MANAGED economies in the world by Forbes Magazine.
It is true that Ghana is entering into economic renaissance and the only solution to our numerous problems is to have a visionary leader who is selfless and has enormous energy; one with the requisite vibrancy to harness and manage our resources, both human and material for the development of our nation. We do not need an arm-chair C.E.O.(president) who does not know what is going on in the country; one who sit unperturbed while his aides make appointments on his behalf without consulting him; one who dozes on the job when his agents make pronouncements on his behalf without his knowledge while others chooses to ignore his instructions without any ramifications.
Why do we have to go for a $3 billion loan and end up paying over $6 billion with our oil at a relatively cheap rate? What kind of financial prudence is this? Why are we living in deprivation as a country in the midst of plenty? The Chinese nationals are destroying our land and taking our gold without paying taxes and we look as they serviced the few with their booty. What country is this and who is managing it? I am not surprise that we are heading to the abyss as alluded by our former head of state, President Rawlings with this level of inefficiency and only God can save us.
Today in Ghana, nothing makes sense any longer. At a time when many people are battling to find leverage in life and others crying painful to make ends meet, we have the government machinery arranging buses and commandeering party faithful to welcome the president at the airport having undergone a medical checkup. This is a mystery in the 20th century where time matters and it is only the brainy gurus likethe Mutala’s, Ablakwa’s who can understand this behavior, this is ‘high science’. In Kumasi today, 4(four) fingers of plantain cost GN5.00 and one hardly finds “ Kalawole” to buy; at the abattoir, butchers do not sell half pound beef again; engine oil which I used to buy for GN80.00 has doubled, prices of spare parts at the Suame Magazine including tires have assumed a new prize levels because of the depreciation in value of the cedi, cost of living has doubled while inflation remain stagnant.
Life is really bad for many families. A day does not pass without an incident of homicide-sons killing fathers, fathers killing families, people setting fire on themselves, others hanging themselves etc The terrain is really rough and tough! There are real serious issues confronting Ghana today and we need serious minded people to deal with them. This is not the time for mere propaganda but big minds.
Ghana’s economy is badly mismanaged and anybody of sober conscience can attest to this with the exception of the likes of the Fifii’s and Kobby’s whose understanding super cedes the thinking of all Ghanaians. We live in a country where government officials with impunity condone and connive with foreigners to dupe the nation, and have the nerves to testify on their behalf; the loot of the state’s coffers continues unabated by government officials and politicians which is cool because that is the norm in Ghana today; what happens to the Auditor General’s Report after it has been reviewed by the Public Account Committee? What happened to the Anas investigation on Cocoa smuggling syndicate in Ghana, the Ghana Port Authority and the Electricity Department? Are we by our actions and inactions guaranteeing corruption and standardizing theft? Where is our financial intelligence? Wow! Governance in our nation is indeed a big joke which explains why we are living in deprivation in the midst of plenty.
Ghana is a third world country trying to emulate what many advanced countries have done using their brains and resources in research. All that we need to do is to copy some of these undertakings based on our culture and the psychology of our people. Ironically, our leaders are so myopic that they cannot even copy because most of their priorities have to do with projects that enrich their pockets. When I hear the government spokesmen talking about the elimination of 1000 school under trees, I laugh. What it means is that Ghana has in effect lost about 15 billion old cedis because of the inflated figures of about C150 million old cedis per each project. All the awardees were party functionaries and this is no secret to the ordinary Ghanaian. It is not surprising when the former President, Mr Rawlings indicated that corruption has gone overboard and driving the nation into the abyss.
How do we develop a nation when everything from razor blade to tooth pick are imported from other countries? What are the plans of the government if any to cut down our import bills of $2 billion on consumables at a time when the nation’s youth is crying for jobs? What are we doing about our monthly revenues of GC5.1 billion as against GC7.5 billion in expenditure when Chinese nationals operate for gold without taxes? How do you increase taxes on our industries and expect them to compete with foreign goods where they enjoy economies of scale? What kind of financial prudence is this?
Do we as a nation understand the implications associated in LOANS? Anybody who has lived abroad understands the repercussions thereon on loan acquisition. I do not understand the mad rush for all kinds of loans which do not have any significant bearing on our developmental agenda and yet carries dangerous stressful consequences for our unborn generation. The pursuance of the $3billion loan Chinese loan will cost us over $6 billion in payment with our oil sales. Are we thinking through some of these strange loans or thinking about our cuts alone? How do we explain the need to add 45 new parliamentarians at the cost of C4.2 billion per each parliamentarian for every 4 years (remuneration including ex-gratia)? What are the functions of Parliamentarian? Do we need so many people to make laws? God save mother Ghana.
‘Ghana’s problems are mostly homegrown,’ said Peter Alum, the IMF’s mission chief to Ghana, in February, 2012. This sick economy characterized with greed and corruption is the case because the CEO of Ghana, President Mills is sleeping on the job. As an executive president who is supposed to initiate policies through the Attorney General’s Dept to be discussed by the Parliament, he seems not to even understand the real issues confronting Ghana. Today, our leaders sit comfortably and quietly in our offices, and enjoy their Champaign as Chinese nationals destroy our nation; they are devastating our lands, cutting down cocoa trees, impregnating our ladies without paying Taxes and that is fine because few people have access to their booty i.e. politicians, chiefs, law enforcement bodies, immigration officers etc. This country is hopeless and needs leadership and direction.
How can a nation develop when corruption is virtually legalized? Can a nation grow when her management is reduced to mediocrity? How do we grow when our own citizens help foreign nationals to dupe our nation? As a nation, we lack direction and the spirit of patriotism which should come from a good leader. How do we explain why an immigration officer could be transferred for arresting an illegal alien who is supposedly in the protection list of the Immigration Boss? How do we understand the behavior of the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines Mr Toni Aubynn, who chooses to defend mining institutions in the argument about the payment of fair taxes to the state? We all witnessed the likes of Messrs Burton Odro, Alex Sergefia and Mrs Iddrisu defending Mr Woyome for allegedly defrauding the nation? We have political gurus like Messrs Mutala, Kobby, James and Ablakwa ready to defend any devilish action of the ruling government with good English and sometimes with arrogance. How do you explain the catalogue of scandals-Woyome episode, Waterville scandal, CP and now American Automobile Company? Where are we going as a nation, to the abyss or to the dreamland where people use their brains to work and ensure the growth of the nation? As a citizen I flew to Ghana to vote for President Mills for change but today, I feel strongly that his administration has failed us and a vote for him again is to reward incompetence and corruption, and I dare not do that. God save Mother Ghana