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Opinions of Monday, 20 December 2010

Columnist: Adjei, S. Y.

Re-Corruption Canker in Ghana: Strategic Solutions are Applicable

Thanks for your concerned with respect to corruption in Ghana. Indeed, I am interested in the subject and the way you described it to include almost every Ghanaian as part of the corruption issue in Ghana. Personally, I hate to admit or classify corruption as a problem the reason being that it is solvable or curable in our social set up. I prefer to use or classify it as challenge or issue. I hold this view because some world leaders have done it before, for example George Washington of USA, Stalin of Russia and Napoleon of France. Even in Ghana Rawlings almost did control corruption to certain extend, so the question is ‘’why can’t we fight against corruption and what are we waiting for? Let us all admit to the fact that we are all part of the corruption challenge. ‘’Sorry, even if readers will allow me I will include the dead’’ The dead are also part of the corruption issue in Ghana. Notwithstanding, the ‘’dead’’ contribution to corruption issues in Ghana, they will however, not be considered in fighting or finding solutions to corruption issue. Solutions or panacea to the corruption issue is resting on totality of Ghanaian populace or society. It is undisputable fact that, the impact of corruption leaves much to desire in every situation. Its impact does not permit good governance and in other dimension it enhances insecurity to nation building. You however, did mention or describe the perspective of corruption in Ghana but failed to address the possibilities of eradicating the issue. From my point of view, eradicating corruption issues in Ghana require strategic solutions.
The immediate question that I will ask is how do we Ghanaians eradicate corruption? In my efforts to answer this question I will first try to provide my own meaning of corruption. Corruption is an induce attempt to seek political, economic and social benefits or interest as against the interest of the others. Corruption can occur in all spheres of humanity. The main dimensions of corruption can be classified as political, economic and cultural. The in-depth analysis of dimensions of corruption and their effects to nation building is outside the focus of this work. The focus of this work is to suggest strategic solutions to corruption issue in Ghana. In an attempt to provide useful suggestions, let us look at corruption issue from holistic perspective. As said earlier corruption has been part of humanity, in this sense, we all need to admit the corruption issues in Ghana irrespective of one social status, being the president, judge, professor pastor, chief, medical doctor, messenger, artisan, trader and/or others require absolute ethical change.

The reason being that corruption is abuse of ethics or rule of the game to benefit either ones political, or economic or cultural interest. In short, we Ghanaians have to accept change in our behavior, conducts, and manners and manifest this change in our routine activities as well as every sector of the economy. The role of the government in this perspective is paramount in the sense that it's the duty of the government to provide basic infrastructures to facilitate eradication of corruption. The government and its officials and the Ghanaians at large in this perspective need to be committed to the solution of eradicating corruption. We need to commit our selves to common ethics and values of Ghana and to sacrifice in the interest of future generation (Ghanaians). Government institutions like community development, information service, social service, statistical department and cultural department need to be lifted up, by providing the necessary capacity and other resources.
The ability of Ghana government to lift these institutions or departments mean providing them the state-of-art equipments like computers to enable them share data collectively and coordinate their activities. This also implies that the government of Ghana should provide internet facilities to all sectors of the economy to enhance effective inter-departmental or institutional communication and transparency. Provision of internet in government departments will enhance effective communication between government departments and other institutions. Again, government payments should be effected only in banks and post offices.
Government payments by cash to revenue collectors should be abolished. The government of Ghana needs to create an environment where by all government revenue collectors and institutions or services can not handle physical money, for instance, Ghana Customs, Internal Revenue and VAT. In this direction the role of financial institutions are very relevant to enhance the effectiveness of such program or policy. One may ask, how can this be effective in Ghana? The effectiveness of the program or pay at bank policy as I may call it will be realized if the government of Ghana register and document details of every citizen and issue or Ghana National Insurance Number(GNIN) to all Ghanaians like national insurance number in UK. This is very common in Europe and other parts of the globe. Introduction of GNIN will be useful to provide data to every human being in Ghana. The birth and death registry in corporation with hospitals and District Assemblies or Metropolitan Assemblies should be charged with this responsibility. In lieu of this, any person without GNIN number is not a Ghanaian and cannot be considered as such. The government should get a program of this kind and implement it. This will solve the challenge of improper personal data documentation in Ghana. Despite the relative costs at the preparatory or introductory stage the end result will be beneficial to the people of Ghana. I am absolute sure this will solve about 90% of corruption in Ghana. I know it is easier said than done but we need to start from somewhere for the benefit of our future generation. Attitudinal change and capacity building are the possible strategic solution to corruption in Ghana.
The role of the society is also important to eradicate corruption. I know it is simply not easy to give away certain behavior that has been cultivated for a long time but with determination and will power we can do it. For instance lateness to work which reduces productivity could be improved. The people of Ghana should accept and adjust to change. We should learn to sacrifice and hold the system at heart and also act in all cases in the interest of Ghana. With unity, love, loyalty and patriotism we can uproot corruption and live better life in Ghana. It’s time now majority of us stop living at the mercy of God. It’s time now we act proactively instead of reactively. It’s time now we stop saying my contribution alone can’t help Ghana to grow economically. Such attitude of us does not help nation building hence, the need for attitudinal or cultural change. Again, civil education should be improved in schools and this should start in nursery schools. Impacting such knowledge to children will be helpful since the children will grow into the society with such knowledge. Radio and TV programs will be helpful to educate the people of Ghana about Corruption. Fellow Ghanaians it is time now, we wake up because corruption is taken away our national pride.

Thank you.

S.Y. Adjei