Posted by Business in Ghana on May 26, 2013
Sydney Casely-Hayford, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sure as can be, we are back with the bad old days on all fronts. Rains came down this morning; lights went out, making the already four-week drought of water from Ghana Water a more miserable existence. My Chinese meter is still running double time despite a visit from some chief wigs of the ECG and I have to express my disappointment at Finance Minister Seth Terkper’s new moves to shore up his cash flow problems.
This is a collective resignation from protest. Most Ghanaians I talk to are simply tired, worn out from our incapacity to move up another gear and drive an uphill agenda to tackle the myriad problems bedeviling us. I had to buy a tanker-full of water, because I cannot live without it. All week, we have had a pilgrimage of yellow gallons balanced on dainty eight to thirteen year old heads, miserably traipsing to the nearest oasis to fetch water before school starts. Others choose “klempe tsinsin” as the Ga people call it, half the water spilling on the bumpy uphill pathways back before they start their day.
Yet my President is on a podium on Africa Union day, spouting about the African Renaissance. His speechwriter forgot to tell him that you must at least have water and power for industry and even critically, citizens MUST have all the basic human necessities and then they can think, plan and live. They will not pitch into any mirage-renaissance until they can wake up in the morning, look outside and not see their flooded gardens with gutters carrying the worst kind of non-degradable material, floating amidst black plastic bags of human excrement and step intrepidly into the day’s activities.
What we do instead is pray for the President and his Ministers that God will bless them to find solutions to encrusted problems they have fashioned. Our trust in holy water, which led to TB Joshua’s place of worship becoming a necropolis, has already faded away. We trust that a cure for our woes is from water in a bottle made holy by a self-appointed person of God. Even when Government is giving free money through the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), we do not rush to collect the cash. We dived for the holy water and in the process, murdered a few of our citizens. So much for our faith in Government. What is it that makes TB Joshua think that it is okay to offer to compensate the dead, when his negligent “cure all woes” from a bottle of water became a mission of death for his faithful?
Religion is our blight in this country and I was particularly impressed to hear the Chief Imam at Kasoa proffering the view that the Christian clairvoyant in conjuring these miracles has sensationally superceded the Christ he serves. Someone asked on radio why TB did not come back immediately to raise the people who died from his promises of a complete and strife-free life. Where is thy sting oh CHRAJ?
It is raining, nothing more pure in this world than clean water from the skies, uncontaminated, unsolicited and fresh. But we are not harvesting the rainwater and we are not thankful for Nature’s gift of life’s perpetual cycle. Yet, even though we do not make enough water to provide for a population backed into a small space in what passes for a capital city; flooded, stinking and congested, we are conjuring an African Renaissance and offering prayers in support of political miscues. “Eye Nyame na Dom”?
A twenty-five year old pedophile (he married a 13 year old girl and slept with her as a married couple for two nights) and her parents and her older 18-year old sister, were arrested, while the police continue to investigate any wrongdoing. This is a miserable aftermath; it is only trivial because in 2012, we recorded 750,000 teen pregnancies. A significant number were aged between 10 and 14, and while we have a shortage of midwives, teenage pregnancy is at record levels. The Ablekuma father who took two sisters is part of the problem. Who is protecting the rights of these kids, when the family looks the other way?
There is a cultural mindset that will topple our democracy if we don’t start changing these village traits. Why did we stop at arresting only the parents? Because from the media reports the family played a major role to persuade an ignorant mother when her older daughter saw it proper to run from the pitfall, to proffer her younger daughter to compensate the man. Ugh! What is this if not primitive?
And primitive funding solutions are creating a gap between my and Finance Minister Terkper’s strategies to additionally tax businesses with levies that will stifle growth. Bad enough that the Bank of Ghana raised the policy rate to 16%, which is meaningless anyway; only provides another avenue for the already super-prosperous banks to increase their lending rates, because there are so many ways to increase the tax base and I cannot see this closed-in-the-box-back-to-old-ways levies moving the private sector. We have appointed a Minister for Private Public Partnership and yet we do not have legislation in place to govern PPP. What is he expected to do until the law is passed? We are going to market with a $1billion Euro bond, part of which we will use to buy back expensive debt (T Bills issued at 23%+3 all last year?), but we have a $3 billion loan from the Chinese Government and more from AfDB and the World Bank. We have an informal sector, which if adequately taxed, could yield $2billion, but we are going to penalize thin margins of the private sector, and we still have many projects sitting uncompleted, funds have been made available and all we need do is execute. Here is a sample from the World Bank on Ghana’s Urban Water Project. Status? Moderately satisfactory since 2004.
This NDC Government is working hard to cast us as idiots. So much of this scrapping around is unnecessary; the revenue and cash solutions are very obvious.
I would be remiss if I do not bring up the Village Palm Wine Tapper and now professional political comedian’s appearance at the Supreme Court. Johnson Asiedu Nketia was in court with this. “My Lords, I heard Dr. Bawumia speaking about the fact that the ballot accounting section of the pink sheet should be filled before the box is opened and I strongly disagree with him. Even though, that is what should be done in theory and as is written on the pink sheet and election guidelines, that is not what happened because in the villages, as soon as it is 5p.m, people start moving to the polling station and start shouting ‘chooboi, chooboi, we want to see what is in the box’ so in such situations, the officers open the box and count before they fill that part of the form”.
Does this hand the Petition case to the NPP side? The General Secretary of the ruling party sees no reason why we should apply rules of procedure. This statement says it all for me ‘cos when I heard the upper echelons of the Party claiming he is Illuminate, I shut the door on “Buddhi”.
The NPP Government started the National Youth Employment Program in 2006. The idea was a bad one in the first place; many institutions could have been funded to employ more unemployed graduates. There were eight modules by 2009 with 108,000 beneficiaries, cost the Government about ghc84million a year. By 2012, programs had increased to thirteen with 433,500 beneficiaries and cost GoG ghc468.46 million. Youth in Sanitation, Youth in Agric, Youth in Community Education Teaching Assistants, Youth in Health Extension Workers, Youth in Paid Internship, Youth in Non-formal Educators, Youth in Security Services, Youth in Skills Development, Youth in Mining, Youth in Trades and Vocation, Youth in Information Communication Technology, Youth in Road Maintenance and Youth in Disability. For 2013, GYEEDA has requested funding of ghc720.69million.
This GYEEDA is as smelly as a Zoomlion garbage truck on the streets at high noon, and Government promises a thorough investigation and full open-to-the-public report due end June, but watch this space. The GYEEDA mess was created during last year’s election fiesta. Let’s see how we will bell the Better Ghana Cat. We wait.
Look at LESDEP and take a close look at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), there are major public purse rape issues on tap. The Center for Policy Research suggests that we decentralise GYEEDA. So we can decentralize corruption? Why? I agree with Kofi Bentil of IMANI when he says scrap GYEEDA. There are many other institutions and existing programs that can absorb the scarce funds better. They will deliver opportunities rather than handouts. What is LESDEP if not vocation support? YESDEC? Beach Brigade? Eco Brigade? If there are many unemployed youth and we are going to fund programs to get them working, say in sanitation and environment, why not run the program through MEST and employ the graduates with MEST?
This morning, mild tropical winds tore off the canopy from an eight-member church across the wall from me. I watched the tent swirling in the wind towards Dansoman and thought the Lord must have heard the cacophony and acted to prevent another stampede for immaculate relief. My faith was nearly restored.
Ghana, Aha a ye de papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!