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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Columnist: Graphic.com.gh

We are destroying Ghana

By: Graphic.com.gh

News that some fishermen are using the cancer-causing agent, formalin, to preserve salted tilapia, popularly known as ‘Koobi’, is, indeed, disturbing, particularly since this is not the first time.

Curiously, the situation is one of many such acts of dishonest conduct being perpetrated by some unscrupulous individuals or groups who will stop at nothing to satisfy their greed and parochial interests.

Unfortunately, these negative practices have engulfed the Ghanaian society in recent times. About four years ago, traders in palm oil were accused of using dyes to adulterate the oil to make more money.

Fishermen are often accused of illicit fishing, such as using unapproved nets, using light to blind and attract fish for easy catch and, the worst of all, using banned chemicals to kill fish stock which they pick, process and sell to the unsuspecting public.

Farmers, especially of horticultural produce, are also accused of using carbide and other hazardous chemicals to hasten the ripening of fruits such as pineapples, mangoes and pawpaw meant for the market.

These dishonest acts are not limited to the informal sector — they cut across the public and the private sectors of the formal sector. While government appointees go to any length to amass wealth and property, including luxury vehicles, at the expense of the public purse, civil servants hardly accept any task without demanding something in return.

In the organised chaos, nobody seems to care about how things turn out in the country. The inertia has already led to the unbridled importation of ‘everything’ into the country, a situation that is stifling local production and productivity, with dire short- and long-term consequences for the economy.

The endless list of items imported into the country, 60 years after independence, includes toothpick, mangoes, pineapples, apples and grapes, onions, lettuce, carrots, broccoli, beetroot, cabbage, maize, rice, wheat, barley, beans, meat and poultry products, dairy products, processed food, noodles, snacks and biscuits.

While the leadership of the country – political and functional – has failed to enforce laws, regulations and conventions, the citizens have lost their patriotism and will stop at nothing to cut corners or employ clandestine means to attain their ends.

The Daily Graphic is saddened by the turn of events in the country and about how the moral fabric of society has been torn.

We call for a drastic change in attitude at all levels as the country prepares to mark 60 years of independence. Continuing like this will only ruin the future and the fortunes of the country for good.

The authorities need to take the bull by the horn and crack the whip as and when necessary to maintain law and order, irrespective of the person(s) at the receiving end.

Political leaders should also work hard to unite the country, which currently remains very polarised along partisan lines.

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) should be up and doing in educating citizens, while the media also take on its mantle as the Fourth Estate of the Realm more seriously than ever in holding officials in every sphere of society accountable to the people.

These actions should help reverse ills such as the unfortunate tide of illegal mining which is causing havoc to the environment, including water bodies.

We remind all Ghanaians that we have only one country and the earlier we join hands to develop it, the better it will be for us and unborn generations.