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Opinions of Tuesday, 23 December 2003

Columnist: Asibey, Akwasi

Things that Put a Smile on my Face

In the past week, three things happened in our country that put a huge smile on my face. I quietly said to myself, ‘finally our country is getting somewhere’, albeit progress is being made slowly but steadily.

The three developments that gladdened my heart were the decline in the prime rate, the launching of e-security initiative for the Ghana Police Service by the vice president and the ongoing efforts by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to keep Accra clean.

On Friday December 12, the Monetary Policy Committee chaired by the Governor of the Bank of Ghana announced yet again a cut in the prime rate from 24 per cent to 21.5 per cent, which represents a 2.5 per cent reduction. In announcing the reduced rate, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Paul Acquah, attributed the decision to improved economic fundamentals.

As we all know, the prime rate is a benchmark rate which influences the interest rate commercial banks charge when lending to their customers. So with the fall in the primate rate, it is expected that the commercial banks will respond favourably by reducing the rate they charge when they lend to their customers. We should, therefore, expect lending rates to fall to between 24 and 26 per cent. This rate is still too high but considering that a few months ago the commercial banks were charging their customers as high as 50 per cent on moneys borrowed, significant progress has indeed been made.

If the favourable trend continues we anticipate further drop in interest rates. In fact by election time in December 2004, the primate rate would have been halved. If this happens the ripple effects on economic growth would be absolutely fantastic.

Our only prayer is for the government not to do anything untoward to undermine its own modest achievement. It is our fervent hope that the Governor and the Monetary Policy Committee as well as the Minister of Finance and his team will remain resolute in protecting the gains made thus far.

Ghana desperately needs to overcome the jinx of economic under performance to engender wealth creation. It is when sustainable wealth is created that the economy can begin to create jobs and to overcome grinding poverty.

On another front, the vice president’s launching of the e-security initiative last Friday for the Ghana Police Service gives an additional impetus to the fight against crime and lawlessness in the country.

The newly launched website for the Ghana Police Service clearly shows the determination of the Government to provide the necessary infrastructure and logistical support to enable the Service to operate with confidence as well as to be more responsive to protecting the population at large.

Investment in the Ghana Police Service will have huge returns for the rest of society in the form of low crime rates and, in general, better security for every body.

It is our fervent hope that the Government will not relent in its efforts and that it will continue to maintain its commitment to improve the telecommunications and information technology capacity of the Service. For instance, we see no reason why the Ghana Police Service should not have its own satellite communication system which would facilitate internal communication links to even the remotest parts of the country.

At last the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has awoken from a deep slumber and is taken concrete steps to keep Accra clean. The recent announcement that AMA will employ additional 1,300 workers to help with the clean up campaign of the Accra metropolis should be applauded. Other initiatives such as hiring the Fire Service to flush a number of drains are commendable.

The setting up of an emergency response team of 150 workers who will be tasked to deal with unexpected situations is most appropriate. We hope and pray that these and other measures will be sustained so that Accra truly becomes a city that we can all be proud of. By simply flushing the drains and keeping Accra clean, it is possible that the rate of malaria infection could be reduced. It should be done on a regular and systematic basis. Our aim should be to get rid of malaria in the metropolis altogether.

These seemingly unrelated events are significant. They point to the fact that those who have been entrusted with the responsibility of running our institutions and economy are living up to their responsibilities. Their untiring efforts must be acknowledged. As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Indeed some progress is being made if we care to look!


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.