You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2009 09 28Article 169277

Opinions of Monday, 28 September 2009

Columnist: Anni-Awuku, Emmanuel

The anatomy of a typical business in Ghana

Your readers may wonder why life in Ghana is so expensive. Please allow me to analyse a typical business, by no means the most complex that there is, and show what Ghana in 2009 is all about.

I received a proposal from some company to supply my employees with sachet water for their lunch break at a price of GHC0.75 for a bag containing 30 little 500ml sachets of water. In other words I was being sold 15 litres of water for 75pesewas. Nothing strange there, it happens all the time in Accra. If in doubt, ask where all the water sachets that litter Accra come from.

Then I looked at my water bill from Ghana Water Company for the previous month, and noticed that I had been charged GHC78.72 for 92,000 litres of water. Again, nothing strange there, people receive and pay bills like this all the time in Accra.

Then I pulled out my calculator and did the maths. If I used my domestic water supply to undertake sachet water business, I could pump 92,000 litres of water into 184,000 little sachets and sell them. In other words, I would buy 92,000 litres of water at GHC78.72 and sell it at a mouthwatering retail price of GHC4,600! Fellow countrymen, that is 5743% profit!

Given that water is consumed by kings and peasants alike, and we are talking about the ubiquitous sachet water that is rumoured to be served everywhere, even at cabinet meetings, you begin to get an idea the kind of profit some people are making in Nkrumah’s (or is it Obama’s?) Ghana.

A few points need to be underlined. There is no industry that should be allowed to deliver this kind of return anywhere in the world, period. Indeed returns like this, for a basic, naturally occurring commodity such as water should be criminal. There is also the fact that the side product of this industry, sachet bags, litter our streets and choke our rivers, but that is another story.

Since Ghanaians love our sachet water so much, Ghana Water Company will do well to open their own sachet water business. They could then sell all the water they produce to their inhouse sachet business, and resell it at 5,743% profit to the public instead of leaving some other people to chop.

But seriously, and finally, if privatizing Ghana Water will allow me, my cousin in the village, and the so called average Ghanaian (where he may be) to buy 92,000 litres water for even GHC120 instead of GHC4,600, then let us privatise the company this weekend!!

Everybody in Ghana is trying to make not just profit, but super profit! I will be back with another anatomy!

Emmanuel Anni-Awuku PMB 9012 Accra