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Opinions of Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Columnist: Yekin, Kofi Ali Abdul

STX-GOG Deal Only Echohs Our State Of National Bankrupcy In Ghana

There is every reason for concerns about the pressure of the need for the Ghanaian
housing situation to be urgently addressed. Every effort by anybody to arrest the
situation is a welcome thing and more so by the popularly democratic elected
president of Ghana. Of course this is one of the reasons why the president was
elected by the masses of Ghana. However, the recent effort by the sitting government
to solve this problem has received reactions from almost every quarter of the
Ghanaian socio-eco-political constituents.


Everything possible has been employed to kick against this seemingly noble venture,
but why? To the common mind, one could not just imagine why anybody in his/her
normal sense should be stopping the sitting government of Ghana from embarking on
this venture that is being vendor as the solution to the housing problems of Ghana.
THE REALITITES OF STX-GOG SAGA
What is practically unfolding itself in Ghana today by all concerned is exposing the
anomalies of the STX-GOG hosing project deal as well as preparing the premises for
exploiting the situation by making political capital out of it. This does not even
exclude the sitting government of the day.
Based on all arguments from all quarters, particularly the NPP faction in Ghana
whose eight years of government exhibited identical lack of consideration for
accountability in the employment of the resources of the people of Ghana, is this
call for the termination of the STX deal the best option for Ghana? Well, if the
interest of Ghana is to stand as the most paramount concerns of every one of us and
we are convinced that we are all equally responsible for any negative outcome in the
long run, then the answer is yes!

IS THE SITTING PRESIDENT OF GHANA ON TOP OF THE GAME IN THE STX SAGA?
In deed it is a relief to learn that the bill to parliament on this issue has been
recalled by the president for review. This position in itself is a clear indication
that the sitting government did not do its home work properly before embarking on
the project in the first place. It is also an indication that the president is not
on top of the game or even far from a project of this magnitude that will have
everything to do with his legacy as a president of Ghana at this point in time.
Based on what we are experiencing, it is becoming obvious that the president is just
a novice as any one of us, as far as the STX project is concern. The president is
just being informed like anyone of us about what is happening while the real job is
an exclusive business of some few, who are not directly responsible to the Ghanaian
electorate.

HOW INFORMED ARE GHANAIANS ON STX?

The most obvious picture about this STX contract is the element of inconsistency and
a clear lack of transparency surrounding the project that is making it look like
some doggy deal being imposed on the people of Ghana by some faceless interest that
are actually not accountable to Ghanaians but to their pay masters by their selfish
agendas.

In all this, certain fundamental facts are missing and most of our
socio-eco-political commentators are struggling to unearth these things but for
their personal circumstances, the real truth is yet to be told. Who will be blaming
our current Ghanaian political activists, as victims of the realities of today’s
Ghanaian political bankrupted state, for not being able to unearth the truth?
Predominant among most Ghanaian political commentators on this STX concerns is the
consensus that unless Ghana commit itself to external debt, no houses in Ghana can
be build by the Ghanaian government for Ghanaians. For or against, one thing that
all these activists share in common is that the destiny of the Ghanaian can never be
of any good to him/her unless he/she is subjected to external debt of slavery.
Kwasi Pratt Jnr. Kwaku Baku, Tony Adu, Raymond Archer, do all share a common belief
on this.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR CONCERNS ABOUT THE STX-GOG DEAL?

In our effort to expose the truth, we shall embark on asking some questions for you
to make your own conclusions;

1. Going by the Minister of Works and Housing, Albert Abongo’s interview
recently to the Ghanaian media that the government will construct 100,000 housing
units over the next eight years through public-private partnerships as part of its
efforts to meet rising housing demand in the country, is this STX-GoG deal of
200,000 houses across Ghana not the private-public partnership in question?

2. The issue before us here is about housing for Ghanaians and how best the
Government of Ghana can rise up to the challenge of addressing the concerns about
meeting up with the housing needs of Ghanaians. Does this not means the Ghanaian
government resorting to STX which is a Korean Company as the best way to address our
housing needs a clear expression of total lost of confidence on local builders? Does
this as well not indicates that the privatization of the State Housing Corporation
and other government ventures have failed as what is coming out of all this is our
own government having more confidence in external builders as an alternative to our
local builders?

3. Now that suddenly there has sprung up overnight an offshoot of the mother
Korean company in Ghana tagged “STX Ghana Limited” just to full fill the condition
of seeing the deal through than a company in Ghana for a genuine intention of doing
business before this uproar, is this not enough premises for the masses of Ghana to
feel the unbearable stink the whole deal?

4. Since technically the STX Ghana come into existence just for the sole
purpose of obtaining contract and the most likelihood that the real faces behind the
STX masquerade are individuals within the sitting government with the STX Ghana
Limited as a mere front to con Ghanaian, is this not obvious that the company will
as well cease to exist should this project fail to see the light of the day?

5. On the subject matter itself, housing comprises of Social or Commercial
housing. In the case of Social housing provision, the focus is more about need than
the ability of the beneficiary, in this case Ghanaians. Since about 65% of the
Ghanaian population live on far below $10US per day and almost every one of these
people is homeless, should anyone take this bogus official position of 100,000
housing deficit figures as a joke or anything serious?

6. With the understanding that each house will be costing between $30,000-
$40,000 spread over 30 years, by the Ghanaian standard this will automatically
qualify for a Commercial Housing project. If this is going to be a private interest
with the sole aim being driven by profit instinct, why should the Ghanaian tax payer
be the one footing the bill as is being made clear in this case?

7. Who is actually going to be the owner of the 200,000 housing units to be
built in Ghana; is it the STX or the Ghanaian government?

8. If it is going to be the STX as it is now being the case; either as STX
Korea or STX Ghana LTD., how come the Ghana government being the sovereign sole
guarantor of the loan STX is obtaining from its lenders?

9. If, rather the housing unites belongs to the Ghanaian government and all
that STX is doing is to serve as a construction firm for the Ghanaian government,
does this not mean that the Ghanaian government should be the one to obtain its own
loan and then contract STX to do the job of house building?

10. If it is a joint venture between the Ghanaian government and STX, then is it
not obligatory on both parties to be the signatories to the collection of loans and
equally liable in case of default in payment as a result of unforeseen
circumstances?

11. If something goes wrong, like similar loans in the pasts Ghana obtained for
capital projects that ended up unviable by changes in the prearranged circumstances
to meet up with planned expectations, will STX be the one to bear the consequences
or this will be added to the stock of debts the Ghanaian government owe to external
interests?

12. It is very common these days to hear individuals in the current government of
Ghana publically informing us Ghanaians that the money for the venture is something
the STX borrowed or loaned from foreign investors to build houses in Ghana; is this
not in the interest of Ghanaians to know who this benevolent lender is since our
government is said to be the guarantor of the said loan?

13. If the $10 billion loan is coming from the Korean government as we are being
made to believe by some of our government officials and spokes persons, is the loan
to the Ghana government or to STX?

14. If the debtor to be is STX, why must the Ghanaian government put itself
forward as the debtor on behalf of STX? Considering the fact of the reality of
managing the loan, STX will be much more the manager of its business and its loan
than it shall be of the Ghana government, how then vulnerable is the interest of the
Ghanaian?

15. If STX is in Ghana to do business to make profit like any other businesses,
why should the Ghanaian government in the name of the people and tax payers of Ghana
allow itself to be roped so much into such a private debt?

16. If our current experience with Kosmos is anything to learn from; is it not
good to know if the contract with STX is transferable or not?

17. Now that we are being told that the Ghana government on behalf of the people
of Ghana is the guarantor of this loan being obtained by STX Korea or Ghana, and the
fact that in the business world any company can go into liquidation and its asset
put under administration; what will be the fate of the state of Ghana when it will
have to be forced to deal with a third party other than STX just due to how much we
allowed our self to be tied to the loan as its guarantor?

18. In the worst case scenario, such eventuality could result in a third party, in
this case Ghana could be faced with an arch enemy like Kosmos, who will be selling
her interest in Ghana to another third party at 4,000% profit, what will be the fate
of the poor people of Ghana?

19. In the quagmire of the STX-GoG saga, there is every indication that mortgaging
the houses is the main intention of both the Ghanaian government’s share of the
houses to the security ser vices and that of the STX share to the Ghanaian public;
has the government indeed taken a second look at the long term consequences of this?

20. On the position that the STX is going to be selling its own share of the
houses as mortgage to be paid instalmentaly by Ghanaians to STX, what happens to the
poor Ghanaian when inflation set in as our currency is highly prone to fluctuations?

Is the poor Ghanaian going to be at the mercy of the Casino Bankers and their
financiers fiddling with the rate of interest? Is our government going to be
deciding the rate of repayment and its changes or the whole thing is going to be by
the volatile “market forces?”

21. How shall the interest of the poor Ghanaians be protected against the
organized Korean firm whose sole objective is to make as much profit as possible
from the Ghanaian?

22. How painful shall the situation be when one day the Ghanaian wake up to the
reality that our current government that took Ghanaians into such obnoxious deal did
not only gave the Korean mouth wetting concession of all types but also the
government guarantor of the loan for the private deal?

23. How worse will the situation be if the Ghanaian should realize that in
addition to all the benefits that Ghana government is making available to the STX
Korean firm of which no any other firm has ever enjoyed in the history of Ghana,
there is also a legal backing enough to make the Ghanaian defenceless before the
Koreans on the land of Ghana in ensuring that the monthly payment is unconditionally
met at what ever cost?
24. In limiting our selves to the share of the Ghana government‘s allocation of
the deal to the Ghanaian security services, who in turn will becoming owners of the
houses after payment is completed, what happens to the Ghanaian public security
personnel when he/she is out of job?
25. Going by the realities of our time, it is not uncommon for the IMF and the
World Bank to make it mandatory to the Ghanaian government to lay off existing
public servants of which the so called Ghanaian security forces are part of; what
will happen to the monthly mortgage commitments of the public servants who have been
laid off and his/her salary stopped?
26. If the Ghana government is going to go on with its commitment to STX despite
lying off these public servants, how will our government sustain such commitment in
a circumstances with its own income fallen?
27. It is not uncommon to hear academicians making the remark that every existing
asset of the Ghanaian government is already tied down to one debt commitment or the
other; with our oil prospective coming into reality, does the Ghanaian see the
connection between the expected income of Ghana and the ploy to rope the nation and
its people into an advance debt?
28. Are we not seeing a future in which subsequent governments will be pretending
that they are the good guys to get the Ghanaians out of these mess by surrendering
our oil field as a means of saving the people from losing their homes?
THE CONCERNS OF OUR NATIONAL SECURITY
What make this particular case a serious concern is that it is an intentionally well
calculated policy to trap the Ghanaian into a national debt that will make
generations to come so helpless in their payment method and a commitment to foreign
interest. A house is a basic need of life and so a right to every citizen of Ghana.
It is beyond any word to explain the danger of putting the right of the Ghanaian by
the Ghana government in the hand of the Korean.
Well, there is no doubt that we desperately need houses for our teaming population
but making political or financial capital out of the plight of our people by those
that were entrusted with the sovereignty of the people is a grievous concern. We
were all relieved when the bill last week was withdrawn from parliament for
reconsideration. With basically nothing done to it as most of the concerns for the
withdrawal actually did not take into account what we have highlighted above, we
appeal to all well meaning Ghanaians to put their differences and sentiment aside to
allow commonsense to reign.
What is happening in Ghana today is a clear mockery of democracy in which self
centred interest precedes the will of the people. We are now in a state of
deceptions in which our public state is now being run as a private state. Cone
business men like wolves parade themselves daily in our political corridors dangling
financial carrots to our entrusted public servants. We are now being ask through our
parliament to confirm a deal that will be legally be binding on us in the future,
even after a change of governments.
OUR SELF DENIAL IN THIS STATE OF BANKRUPTCY
Our state of bankruptcy is also so severe that few lenders are willing to lend us
money directly as a state. We are also showing a clear indication that we are ready
to stoop so low just for a foreign loan as no company is even willing to come into
our state for independent investment unless our government put her people at the
mercy of such company. Thus, taxation is never enough to finance public project such
as public housing and other things. So rather than employing government revenue to
embark in building house for the public as public investment into its citizen and
job creation, the state of Ghana can only resort to external borrowing and external
employees as contractors to work for the unemployment ridden society of Ghana. In
the developed European and the American nation, government resort to the local tax
payer’s money to invest in local project by its own citizens thereby creating jobs
in time of unemployment.
Conclusion
In conclusion, it is no doubt that every Ghanaian need a roof over his/her heads
which make the issue an urgent one. It must however not be doubted that the modern
con man play on the state of our vulnerable minds. We thus appeal to all
progressives to stand up now to defend Ghana from these miscalculated intentions to
enslave us by those we trusted with our mandate to serve us. We might wish it goes
away but our action must be more than just ordinary wishes. If the proponents of the
bill have withdrawn it for the first time, definitely they only presented it to us
in the first place to test how wise or blind we are. Their withdrawal as well should
not be considered as cowardice but an understanding of the dangers in the deal.

However, we must not push our luck too far before the selfish financial interest of
some of the unrepentant criminals within the corridors of the reigning government
becloud our common conscience. We must make it clear that this is not in the
interest of the Ghanaian or Ghana, so it must be returned to the Koreans in Korea.

God Bless our homeland Ghana and Long Live Ghana

Kofi Ali Abdul Yekin
Coordinator - Action Group of Africa (AGA)
+044-7984445344 +233-243377829 www.aga4fed.com