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Opinions of Saturday, 15 April 2006

Columnist: Ampofo Ofori

What Is Wrong With The Cedi As A Legal Tender?

DOLLAR POWER CONTROLS GHANA.

About a year ago, 30th March 2005, a Palaver source on Ghana web disclosed that the personal secretary to the President Mr. J.A Kufour and the secretary to the Cabinet, each receives 4,500. 00. US dollars, per month, under a Consultancy contract in addition to, enjoying all the other privileges enjoyed by Ministers.

On 4th April, 2005 the Daily Guide reported that Mr. Ato Ahwoi and Dr. Tony Aidoo on a radio commentary, accused the NPP Government of introducing a novelty in its administration of state, with payments in U.S dollars, of the salaries of a number of appointees. The report however claimed that, documents available to the Daily Guide indicate that the culture of paying appointees in US dollars has been the practice since the NDC administration and that the Ministry of Finance alone had eleven appointees styled as special assistance, who were paid in hard earned US dollars.

Fellow Ghanaians, exactly one year ago, the 4th of April, 2006, the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), evaluating the Ghanaian Economy, in an article titled ?DOLLAR POWER CONTROLS GHANA?, pointed out that there is too much dollarisation of the Ghanaian Economy. That means that the dollar is dominating as a medium of transacting business in Ghana. In its 2006-07 country report and forecast of the Ghanaian Economy, the EIU stated that the current level of dollarisation in the country suggests the Cedi still lacks credibility, undermining its very foundation as a national currency. The report indicates that it is only items like Pure water, Gari and Beans, Kenkey and Tro-Tro fares that are not quoted in dollars; even bottled water and vegetables are sold in dollars, with consumers having the option to pay in dollars or the Cedi equivalent. Some private schools are reported to be indexing their fees to the exchange rate of the dollar.

The EIU report gathered that the Bank of Ghana has some form of regulation against doing business in dollars, but this regulation has hardly been invoked. GHANA, OH GHANA, WHAT A LAWLESS COUNTRY!! LAWLESS: BECAUSE, THE LEADERS ARE NOT STRAIGHT FORWARD. LAWLESS, BECAUSE, THE LEADERS LIVE IN GLASS HOMES AND ARE SCARED OF THROWING STONES.

The EIU report said, it would require a track record of many years of stability before credibility can be restored to the currency and allow the level of dollarisation to drop moderately. I do not share this conclusion. The situation could change overnight if the leaders will put the laws to work.

Following the revelations by Palaver and Daily Guide, in April 2005, I wrote an article which was featured on the Ghana web on 18th April, Captioned ?Save Ghana Now politically and Economically Part 3, and asked the question ?What is wrong with the Cedi as a Legal tender?? If our Government would have listened to the voices of the people as it should do under a Democracy, it would have enforced the use of the Cedi for all transactions one year ago, when the issue was brought up. No Government official should be paid in dollars or any other foreign currency. This Government must act now, to avoid the humiliation of our national identity. I have herewith this article, reproduced the piece referred to above for your information.

All Rights Res Save Ghana Now - Politically & Economically By: Ampofo, Ofori, (2005-04-18) PLEASE TAKE YOUR TIME AND READ ON. The verbal political fighting between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the ruling National Patriotic Party is bringing out astonishing revelations on how fat some people were fed under the NDC government and how fat some people are being fed under the Ruling NPP government on our scarce foreign exchange VAULT.

On Ghana web general news of Wednesday 30 March 2005, it was revealed that the personal secretary to the president Mr. J.A Kuffour and the secretary to the cabinet, each receives 4,500 US dollars per month under a consultancy contract entered into between the two secretaries and the national institutional renewal program (NIRP) of Ghana. The NIRP is funded by the world bank through a loan to the government of Ghana. The two secretaries are Mr. Daniel Kuffour Osei (nephew in-law of the president) and Mr. Annan Arkyrin Cato. The signed contract document available to the source (Ghana palaver) covers five other officials at the castle who are on similar NIRP consultancy contracts and receives 3,500 dollars each per month. The palaver source also indicates that these foreign exchange salaried officials are also entitled to all other benefits in cash and in kind those ministers and other identified officials are entitled to. These include

1. Duty allowance--50% of annual salary

2. Entertainment allowance--20% of annual salary

3. Fully furnished official accommodation or 20% of basic in lieu of official accommodation.

4. Official chauffeur-driven vehicle with fuel allowance of not more than 50 liters a week.

5. Domestic servants (cook, steward and gardener)

6. Free water, electricity and official telephone bills.

7. Free medical and dental care for official, his wife and or her spouse and two children.

If all these benefits are quantified and added to the monthly basic, it will bring the monthly pay of the president?s secretary in excess of over 100 million Cedis. To counteract the palaver?s report, the Daily Guide also came out on 4th April 2005 to reveal the following ?Mr. Ato Ahwoi, head of the Ahwoi empire and former PNDC secretary for energy and Dr. Tony Aidoo, former deputy minister of Defense on various radio stations declared that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration has introduced a novelty to the administration of the state with payment in US dollars of a number of appointees.

The report further said however that, document available to the Daily Guide indicates that the culture of paying appointees in US dollars has been a practice since the NDC administration with a number of NDC appointees going home with heavy monthly dollar bills, thus disproving the claims by Tony Aidoo and Ato Ahwoi. According to the document, the ministry of finance under the NDC government alone had about 11 appointees styled as special assistants, and were all paid in hard crisp US dollars. For full details on these revelations, read general news of March 29, 2005. Also Ghana web general news of April 4, 2005 headed Tony Aidoo exposed. Source the Daily Guide.

Now fellow Ghanaians, you see the clandestine activities of NPP and NDC? You see how they have been running the business of our country? You see how they are joking with the lives and prosperities of Ghanaians as a whole? Now they are drying their own dirty clothes in the public, backbiting themselves to win the sympathy of their supporters. Why is either side accusing the other about paying some officials in US Dollars? It is because they know it is a bad policy and a drain in the national economy.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE CEDI AS A LEGAL TENDER?

I can understand paying dollars, a portion of the salary of an expatriate BUT not a Ghanaian. If the Government thinks the CEDI is not a legal tender to pay all Ghanaians, then let us change it or pay every Ghanaian in our own currency. If the source from the palaver and Daily Guide are true, which I believe they are, then it tells us the extent of carelessness the NDC government managed the country?s economy for two decades. The irony of it all is that, because the NPP came to inherit the status-quo, it just continues from where the NDC left off and that's why they don't see eye to eye with each other. If the NPP had done things differently, the NDC would have been shut up forever because they wouldn?t get anything negative to say about them. Unfortunately, the NPP came to power amidst all the joy and fun fare by the people of Ghana, only to join the NDC club. Their motto was LET US CHOP THE COUNTRY BIG TIME, AND BUILD SOME ROADS TO FOOL THEM. Because the NDC knows how sweet it is being in government, they are now envious of the NPP because power has eluded them for 4 years and power they see very bleak in 2008 elections. Both parties NPP and NDC are only playing a game of politics fair or fowl to try to maintain or recapture power.

Now my fellow countrymen and women, young and old, is there any justice in our country at all? My answer is a big NO. As far as the exchanges are coming from the NPP and NDC, I believe there is some element of truth about the payment of salaries of some officials in US dollars. The truth will be out someday. In the case of Mr. Daniel Kuffour Osei the secretary to the president and others who are paid in US dollars, it?s unreasonable regardless where their appointments were contracted. The secretary to the president and cabinet secretary don?t even deserve 10 million Cedis a month let alone 100 million Cedis per month they are alleged to be receiving .What sort of consultancy is the president?s secretary doing to deserve that much money he is being paid? This is a serious injustice in a country where somebody else working in the same president?s office probably will not receive 500,000.00 Cedis monthly pay. What a big difference between 100million and the minimum wage even if the president?s secretary holds a PhD in linguistics. If we have a way of knowing and calculating salaries of Government officials under the category of the president?s secretary, it will be a heart breaking revelation to all Ghanaians.

My fellow Ghanaians both at home and abroad, a columnist Mr. Charles Akyigina?s featured article on the Ghana Web on April 5th 2005 was captioned, IS GHANA EVER GOING TO COME OUT OF POVERTY? What do you think? To me, my answer is a resounding YES with a big BUT; Yes, but Not with the present crop of politicians whose aim is only to manipulate our people for power and grab as much as they can out of the national coffers ,whilst our people struggle daylily in abject poverty. I have always maintained with emphasis that Ghana is not a poor country. Greedy and selfish politicians have created artificial conditions on our country and our people, and chained most Ghanaians onto economic prison walls both at home and abroad while they maintain the Status-Quo without a desire to change. What Ghana needs now, are selfless politicians with a visionary leader, selfless, strong and compassionate, who can motivate, influence and empower the people for greater results. VISIONARY LEADERS ARE BORN NOT TRAINED. GHANAIANS MUST BE BOLD NOW AND DO AWAY WITH THE POLITICS OF THE 1950'S. Those were the years when the colonial masters gave all Government officials including the few Ghanaians free everything plus pay at the expense of the country while they move away Ship loads of our natural resources unnoticed.

THAT IS WHAT WE INHERITED AND THAT HAS BEEN WITH US ALL THESE YEARS VERY DIFFICULT FOR OUR POLITICIANS TO CHANGE BECAUSE IT FAVORS THEM. We should not and can not continue with the colonial masters politics any longer.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Fellow Ghanaians, I am objectively committed to take a moral civil cause to win over the status quo. I know it will be tough but with God on our side and with the support and the good will of Ghanaians we will succeed. They have cheated the nation and its people for far too long and their days are running out.

In part one of Save Ghana Now Politically and Economically, I made a passionate appeal to the workers of Ghana, Christians, Muslims and all other believers, business men and women and most especially fellow Ghanaians abroad to team up with me, join hands and pull resources together in a crusade to save Ghana by the year 2008, to wrestle political power from the colonial masters and help free our people from the shackles of economic enslavement. Now, Students of Ghana, I would like to commit you all into the crusade. Stand up and fight for your future. Organize and go to the hamlets, into the villages, into the towns, into the cities, door to door, and let the people know change is on its way. The cause I have taken is yours and generations yet unborn. Sacrifice your time for the cause. It is a good, sincere, noble and honorable cause There must be the emergence of a new political class that does not have to buy its way into Ghanaian politics. You must belong to that class because this is your AGE and you are the leaders of the future I want to sacrifice the rest of my life for.

It takes one person?s idea to initiate such a dynamic move for change and I am committed for its realization. I am happy to report to my readers and all those who have embraced my idea that, the responses from concerned Ghanaians are very encouraging and I?m proud of it. Let me share with you a small portion of an e-mail received from a Dr. B. Kodzo Ofori from Germany. ?As one German industrialist said the most important factor for a company to succeed is not the capital or the working performance, but the LEADERSHIP. I left Ghana long years ago, but I support your call. May God bless you and your effort.? Yes the German industrialist is one million times correct and I am ever prepared whole-heartedly to champion this noble cause with all the sacrifices I can make in the total interest of Ghana and all Ghanaians especially the poor, younger generations and generations to come.

My fellow Ghanaians abroad, with all our enormous contributions to the Ghanaian economy by way of remittances to our families and relations back home which averages 1.4 billion dollars a year, we should be concerned about how the resources of our country is dissipated, and we must be concerned about Ghana's development, politically and economically. We must be concerned about which party runs the government of the country and therefore we must seek to be given the opportunity to vote in elections in Ghana regardless our respective geographical locations. We should not fail in our duty to change the culture of Ghanaian politics. We have tried all the political parties in Ghana and they have failed the country. They only understand the politics of the 1950?s. What we need now is a better alternative and for that I can promise, my fellow Ghanaians

THE SAVE GHANA NOW ASSOCIATION SHALL NEVER FAIL. JOIN US AND LET US PROVE THAT AFRICA IS CAPABLE OF SHAPING ITS OWN DESTINY. Register with, ofori60@comcast.net

Ampofo Ofori (chairman Save Ghana Now Association)

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