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Opinions of Sunday, 30 August 2020

Columnist: Joe Effah-Nkyi

$166M to purchase armoured vehicles? ‘adabraka’, parliament

A photo of armoured vehicles A photo of armoured vehicles

Parliament recently approved government request to borrow a colossal amount of $166 million for the securing and purchase of Armoured vehicles and its associated accoutrements from Israel for the country’s military, specifically the Ghana Armed Forces.

Of course, much as it is the mandate of the government to morally and physically safeguard every aspect of the state and its citizens therein, greater inhabitants of the citizenry are of the utmost conviction that in the present circumstances of the country, there are more pertinent socio-economic issues affecting the Ghanaian economy that are yearning for relevant developmental structures which, conspicuously, takes precedence over the approval and purchase of Armoured vehicles.

Some options to think through:

The nonexistence of New generation Ocean Liners must inconvenience our legislators and for that matter its acquisition must be treated as topmost priority by the shakers and movers of country. It must be emphasized that Parliament would have prudently served the people if they had advocated for the provision of Ocean going Liners because of its enormous economic significance instead of approval of whooping sum of usd166 million on procurement of Military arsenals.

On hindsight, Black Star Line was established because Leaders at the time appreciated the need for provision of Ocean liners and this, ultimately, culminated in substantial employment and other ancillary business opportunities to the teeming youth. Tragically, BSL could not stand the test of time. Poor leadership coupled with massive pervasion of corruption, bad corporate governance leading to unethical practices as well as maladministration bedeviled the once enviable corporate entity.

Singapore's example:

To reiterate previous assertions, Singapore, a minute Island with virtually no natural resources has achieved the status of a developed country. Her success story is based on the fact that the leaders foresaw the burning desire to develop her maritime industry, in that, maritime transportation and logistics are perceived as a core component of the economy of any given sovereignty in the new millennium that seek to be part of the emerging global market for
absolute transformation.

Today, Singapore has converted into a hub of global maritime activities and essentially the key distribution interface for volumes of global containerized merchandise predestined for major accredited seaports across the globe. This development has invariably intensified her GDP growth and transformed into a global Economic power.

Interestingly, in the 21st century, many jurisdictions geographically located on the coastal trajectory have succeeded in strategically revolutionizing their economies through optimization of maritime transport and logistics. This trend has invariably guaranteed profitability to these polities through job creation and has undeniably empowered them economically.

Eccentrically, with the inception of the 4th republic, none of the various legitimate governments have attempted to resuscitate the once celebrated national shipping line through acquisition of ocean going Liners; this trend has therefore been the bane negatively impacting on our cherished country. Yet again, I must contemplate that the state, undeniably, is in dire need of new
generation Ocean liners to significantly improve upon both her GDP and GNP levels than the acquisition of sophisticated military equipment and hardware which predictably could metamorphosed into ‘White elephant’ or ‘Chinese dish’ in the conceivable future. Without mincing words, it is our utmost conviction that the utilization of such colossal amount for the acquisition of Ocean Liners would be a better option in our present state of affairs.

What about airlines for Ghana?:

Conversely, it’s so absurd that a country that pride herself as the gateway to Africa and more, specifically, the legally mandated host of AFCFTA could not boast of a single Boeing 747 yet those representing the people in Parliament are pushing for the purchase and supplies of military hardware. The question that readily comes in mind is; Even in the event of war with a rogue nation, and with these military arsenals in possession, can we confidently claim to have comparative advantage and for that matter withstand the test of time?
I am convicted to say that in this present technological era, it is the case of absolute Economic gains through prudent strategic policies of government that a country could have competitive edge and become ultimate front-runner and not through physical hostilities. Acquisition of Passenger Aircrafts, therefore, could also be prioritized in the scheme of things of our Honourable Parliamentarians.

And fixing feeder roads?

The above notwithstanding, there are myriads of road projects and other physical infrastructure in the country that yearns to be given facelift if the tax payers are to have their money’s worth instead of placing high premium on things that may not have direct bearing on the masses.

A classic example is that since time immemorial, the inhabitants of the Assin South district have suffered indescribable privation and deprivation of physical developments considering the nature of their road network. Apart from the main highway, virtually all feeder roads become inaccessible, especially, during heavy downpours.

A case in point is the deplorable nature of Manso-Ochiso-Essiam feeder road which is so strategic and has been on the drawing board of successive governments for years on end and yet little has been achieved. The speedy reconditioning of this access road is likely to bring convenience and flexibility to passengers as well as control vehicular traffic.

Fixing this stretch of the road would unquestionably truncate the distance dimension for motorists shuttling between the district through Agona Swedru.
Of course, looking at the above indications, it is our firm belief that the interventions of the central government in collaboration with the District Assembly could ‘turn the scales’ for positive outcomes utilizing part of this usd166 million which the country stands to benefit immensely.