Opinion

Chronicles from my beloved homeland

For the umpteenth time I ask myself where our beloved country Ghana is headed. Thegateway to Africa seems to be in a too entangling web: from judgment debts to sanitation challenges in the capital and millennium city Accra. The land that has seen illustrious sons such as Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. J B Danquah, Kofi Annan and the likes. More and more I cannot fathom the direction our land of freedom and justice is taking as our woes worsen.

The issues of judgmentdebts which have done more harm than good to the national purse do not seem to go away. From the controversial and gargantuan GHC51 million judgment debt received by Mr. Alfred Woyome through Isofoton to many others seem only to have been a tip of the iceberg. As I follow with keen interest the work of the sole commissioner and the judgment debt commission, I am haunted by the question ‘why’. Huge sums of money have been doled out to individuals and business entities for various reasons some of which could have been avoided.

Let’s turn our attention to our energy sector. Our energy crisis which has been christened “dumsornomics“continues unabated. We experience power-cuts in ways that suggest that there is no regard for those of us who use power not for free but pay. Just this week, the sector minister, Mr. Emmanuel Buah assured Ghanaians that the dumsornomics will finally be a thing of the past come 2019 hopefully, due to the number of private investors who have expressed interest in Ghana’s energy sector including the United States government. I think that is promising may be fabulous. Thus, fellow countrymen, let us endure our dumsornomics for the next 5 years in the hope that our power producing equipment will not cause further problems than they have for now. What do you think?

I have been deeply saddened by recent happenings regarding state agencies and social intervention programmes such as the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) and the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA). The government’s approach to handling the rot at GYEEDA never ceases to baffles me. The relevant issues have consistently been massaged while those who are supposed to be prosecuted still walk about freely. I commend government’s efforts at retrieving monies paid to companies such as RLG and Asongtaba Cottage Industries.

However the substantive issues of corruption and financial misappropriation still stare us all in the face. The measures being adopted to right the wrongs following the investigations into the workings of GYEEDA have left more to be desired. Are some people above the law or are they simply being protected because they belong to a political party? What does the president of the republic, His Excellency John Mahama expect Ghanaians and the world to make of his will, attitude and commitment to fight and uproot corruption from the Ghanaian society?

Please, Mr.President, Ghana needs all these monies if for nothing at all to pay road contractors, service providers under the school feeding programme, service providers under the NHIS and the list is endless. The Accra compost plant has shut down due to lack of funds while Accra city authorities struggle to deal with insanitary conditions that we are told would last for a year until the completion of an engineered land-fill site.

The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority rot is also another snare on conscience. At a time when we as a nation want to bridge the developmental gap between the north and the south, our leaders have rather proven that fattening their pockets is more important than working for the collective good of the masses. Let’s not talk about the guinea fowls. Till date I have not been able to digest the comments of the former CEO of SADA, Alhaji GilberSeidu Iddi. According to him, the most important questions to ask about SADA’s afforestation project are: were the trees planted?’ and ‘were employment opportunities created?’

 I dare say I strongly disagree with these thoughts. I will answer yes to both questions. But then what has become of the trees we spent millions of Cedis to plant and the employees? I doubt the authority’s prime aim was simply to create ephemeral jobs by planting trees that will only die out due to negligence and to forget all about them as if nothing ever happened. The people who were employed to plant these trees are currently unemployed while most of the trees have perished due to lack of irrigation and the sorry fact that some were planted in the wrong areas.

I would like to remind our authorities that it is not enough to plant the trees and employ people for just as long as it takes for the sun to make its ritual journey from the east to the west. If we really need strong institutions to develop our nations then we equally need ‘strong’ and competent people who have Ghana at heart to manage them. SADA must work for our people and SADA will work if and only if we put square pegs in our square holes.

Football is the nation’s passion. As a matter of fact apart from a few people, our love and support for the Black Stars is one of the ways we Ghanaians tell the whole world how proud we are of our homeland. Nonetheless, I wish this year’s world cup will be Ghana’s last. Don’t be mad at me because I am not in any way unpatriotic or against football. In fact, I love sports and I love Ghana. But take a ride with me to find out why this should be Ghana’s last flirt with the biggest football festival.

Of all the nations participating in the Brazil 2014 World Cup, Ghana is the only country to have named as many as 15 plus ambassadors to the mundial. Much to my amazement, most of these people have nothing or very little to do with sports and particularly football. Why do we need all these people emplaning to Brazil? Have we forgotten that we have promised ourselves to construct some 50-100 community senior high schools with the same tax payers' money these ambassadors are going to spend at the World Cup?

Are we overlooking the on-going labour agitations in our beloved homeland? Or perhaps just as the proverbial bird whispered into my ears, we have already figured out how to spend the cash prize, Ghana will receive from FIFA for our qualification and participation in the mundial. Hmmmm Asεmsεbε! Are we setting our priorities right as a nation?

Meet Subah Infosulotions. They have received GHC74 million for no work done. Did I say no work done? Sure. The committee that investigated Subah’s operations and contract with the government of Ghana categorically stated that Subah did not do any work to deserve this whooping sum of money. However, the minister of information, Mr. Mahama Ayariga insists Subah’s GHC74 million reward is well deserved for its monitoring of telecommunication companies it was only introduced to in October 2013. I could not agree more with the CEO of the Telecoms Chamber, Mr. Kwaku Sakyi Addo who believes that Subah Infosulotions is either “irredeemably incompetent” or “fatally fraudulent”. As if this controversy was not enough, the Local government ministry has ordered MMDA’s to pay monies to the same company, Subah Infosulotions, an IT firm, to supply motor bikes and other logistics for the purposes of its street naming exercise. Apparently, this contract was awarded while the company was being investigated by a committee set up by the president.

According to the deputy local government minister, Mr Baba Jamal, Subah won the contract through a tender process. Was the process competitive? Two questions linger on my mind: why would government award contract to a company it had ordered to be investigated and how does an IT firm become a logistics company? May be I am naïve in my thinking and reasoning but I certainly would want to understand the issues better. I don’t want to talk about the depreciating cedi. No, not for now. I would like to see how the Economic Management Team, the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Ghana will put to action the Senchi Consensus to wake up the Ghana Cedi from its never-ending slumber. Subsequently, we will all know how our economy in all spheres will fare.

There is no bird which singsall day without stopping to prick up its ears like dogs on the lookout for game. 

 

Abraham LanteLamptey

abrahamlamptey@rocketmail.com

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