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Opinions of Thursday, 24 July 2014

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

$3 Million Brazil Flight Was Sheer Stupidity!

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Garden City, New York

July 17, 2014



It may be deemed laudable to learn that Mr. Mahama's wallet holder, Mr. Seth Terkper, is unusually open about the manner in which he runs the affairs of the Finance Ministry well enough to be willing to break and lick egg-yolks with the general public, as it were.



Still, there is something bizarre about the apparent fact of Mr. Terkper's not seeing anything fundamentally flawed about the decision of the government to fly hard cash in excess of $3 million to Brazil in settlement of the contractual match-appearance fees for the players of the country's senior national soccer team, the Black Stars (See "Flying $3 M to Brazil Was an Emergency Response - Terkper" Citifmonline.com 7/18/14).



The truth of the matter, as publicly adumbrated by Mr. Randy Abbey, a member of the executive board of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), is that this scandalously unintelligent practice was the norm until the most recent Brazil contretemps, once again, rendered the practice a banner news headline and Ghana a laughing stock around the globe.



The logical question, thought, is as follows: Why make an emergency, or a crisis, situation out of the patently pedestrian, if the key administrators of the GFA were not looking to routinely shortchange our players? For instance, why couldn't an electronic banking system have been established for the players and officials as and whenever they fulfilled any aspects of their contracts, in order to promptly ensure that their efforts were respected and duly rewarded as such?



What is more, this is not the first time that something has gone wrong with the flight of hard currency meant for the payment of match-appearance fees for members of the Black Stars. During the tenure of President John Agyekum-Kufuor, moneys meant for the upkeep of the Black Stars, allegedly stashed in the brief case of the then-Deputy Sports Minister, or some such official, were reported to have gotten lost in transit. In that instance, the man officially in possession of the aforesaid moneys was sentenced to a prison term, against the alleged culprit's vehement protestation.



Recently, the ex-convict was widely reported in the news to have dared his former boss, Mr. Kufuor, to enter into a verification contest with him before the shrine of Antoa-Nyama, the legendary Asante traditional deity. Somebody also needs to tell Messrs. Mahama and Terkper that the fate of Ghana's economic development would not hang in the balance, or stall, if they abandon their morbidly perennial fixation on the $3 billion long-anticipated Chinese loan.



Indeed, as Mr. Franklin Cudjoe, of the Accra-based IMANI-Ghana think-tank, had occasion to underscore recently, the Chinese government is no Santa Claus to be blindly dishing out whopping sums of cash to prospective debtor governments that woefully fail to demonstrate the serious and constructive use of such loans. In other words, according to Mr. Cudjoe, the Chinese are darn smart creditors who are as concerned about their decisions to loan out huge sums of money, as well as the uses to which such loan advances are put. They have seen through the scandalous and vacuous development agenda of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC), thus their allegedly prohibitive oil-supply demands on Messrs. Mahama and Terkper.



The Finance Minister is also quite accurate in his observation that the mere precipitous downward spiral in the value of the Cedi, the country's monetary currency, does not necessarily translate into a corresponding drop in the volume of foreign investments or business establishments. What he significantly, perhaps even conveniently, fails to point out is the fact that he woefully lacks the requisite statistical evidence to make any meaningful and credible comparisons between Ghana and her fourteen or fifteen other West African neighbors. Talk, it has been repeatedly said, is very cheap. Very cheap, indeed!



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