Politicians will come and go but in Africa, their agenda, irrespective of party, as we have witnessed over the years is mostly to loot and share; something we have sadly come to accept. What is however unacceptable to us is, when a political leader and his cohorts loot and share beyond “acceptable” brackets.
The 25th of February was the day selected for the leader of our beloved nation, to gist us on what he has done so far in the past year with the power we gave to him and well according to him in his address, “…the
BHIM nation is well on its route of development contrary to what people say.” My initial reaction to this was the modern Ghanaian cliché “Like Seriously?”
As usual he gave some more promises just like last year and went on and on about his accomplishments though verbose was very scanty. However, I must admit, the man possess panache with a glib of verbal aptitude. He didn’t even “gbaa” once when he ranted on about the few feats he had chalked in his tenure including, promotion of some local companies to produce domestically produced substitute for some of our imports and provision of some infrastructure such as roads, schools and health centers.
Though they are accomplishments, I do not think they are commendable because of the obvious “duh” reason: that is his responsibility. Now, in the best possible way as you continue to read this fragment of my innumerable thoughts, do so carefully with an apolitical lens before you attack my person and dress me up with the usual partisan clothing.
Let’s start with some the loopholes in his accomplishments. “Our Health care system has improved tremendously” and further he claimed it was evident for all to see. While evidently, people died in that recent accident that claimed over 60 lives because of inadequate number of ambulances with others dying day-in-day-out for far less.
According to him, services contributed 50% to the GDP, industry 26% and primary 24% which on the surface could mean that services have increased in the recent years. But what is really happening here is that our primary production has taken a nose dive while all others remain the same or are decreasing at a lower acceleration.
The Minister of finance finally admitted Ghana imports cocoa from Cote d’Ivoire. Now the focus is not which agency did the importation but the shame in it. A world renowned worldwide leading producer of cocoa importing 15,000 metric tons with an unspecified amount of money. A fraction of which could have been used to revamp the cocoa growing sector of the country. More like being a thirsty fish in water.
Ironically because we borrowed some “coins,” this same government comes under intense pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and donor partners to scrap tax exemptions from the country’s tax laws to enable it accrue more revenue for development instead of depending on aid. Under this current tax regime, some foreign companies operating in some parts of the country in the name of investor incentives are exempted from tax of up to 10 years among others while we the owners of land are getting our exemptions cut.
Now the funny part of this whole thing is that after your business is on the brink of collapse, with a “good standing” with the government you could get some cash pumped into your company to stay afloat like Zoomlion, Tobinco and Karma Pharmaceuticals. The basis of who qualifies for this cash pump remains unclear. I am not saying it is bad but instead of waiting to cure why don’t we spend a fraction of these monies to prevent.
When a nation or a leader has the ability to empower and enrich a people to be proudly independent and self-sufficient but opts to put them in a situation to accept and smile at freebies to survive, it is not only failure but deception. The fact that huge amounts of monies are spent on capacity building to the detriment of major areas that will grow the economy is the issue.
The president has embarked on several social interventions including giving away some freebies of which my personal favorite is the “Free Sandals Initiative”. The issue with the freebies is that they are not sustainable and the effects of these freebies are short-lived. A child will smile at his dad who hasn’t taken care of him since birth if he comes smiling with a toffee in hand. The “child-move” is clever but sadly this clever trick works not on only children but many of us Ghanaians.
Dear Mr. President, instead of giving freebies to the rural folks, enable them to provide for themselves. Provide fertilizers and insecticides in place of sanitary pads and sandals so at the end of the yield they can provide for their children even 10 pairs of sandals. Ideally, social interventions are a common thing in very developed countries. Citizens incapable of work receive items ranging from money to clothing. The only difference between theirs and ours is that they have an industrialized economy capable of generating more wealth to replenish what the government spends on social intervention policies and secondly, they do not receive donor support.
The true state of the nation is evident in the extent of deterioration in the NHIS, school feeding program, cessation of nurses and teacher trainee allowance, CPC being closed down, mounting and unpaid teachers’ allowances, annual doctors’ strike, mass labour unrest over soaring taxes, high fuel prices, possibility of “Dumsor Reloaded,” collapse of local businesses and increasing levels of unemployment served with a topping of various levels of corruption cases. Government officials being caught in flagrante delicto in the acts of corruption and old-school theft of public funds in various sagas including the branding of buses and the power barges are seeds of this corruption canker.
Indirectly according to the president he is blameless of all these atrocities when he blamed the Bank of Ghana for all the microfinance problems the country has faced including the very popular DKM scam among other state agencies. From the little I know about leadership raising accusing fingers is not an indication of such. It’s not that we don’t have resources; we have human resources, we have natural resources, we have the people. We know what to do, but we are just not doing it.
We together with the government we voted into power have done a great disservice to this generation and even worse to the generations after. In the words of Ken Thompson “our children will suffer.” There will be so much debt to clear with very few locally owned resources to generate enough revenue to clear these debts enlarging the vicious cycle of poverty. Unless by some divine intervention we get accepted into the HIPC program for the second time to be forgiven of our debts, Ghana will gradually become Greece maybe because both our names start with the letter G.
We must stop tackling problems from the surface and get to the roots. Let us be thorough with our tax collection and ensure we don’t only collect them but put them to efficient use. Let’s grab corruption by the horns, industrialize and get real benefits from the natural resources we own. Let us wean ourselves from external debts and develop a productive and efficient workforce so that when we have surplus, we can start talking about real social intervention for the populace in a careful manner.
I have always sought to present to you my opinions of issues relating to the economy in an unbiased way as possible only influenced by my economic background and my unique perception of governance in this country. The government has failed woefully because it failed to put in place prudent economic structures and to spend exceedingly.
They failed to heed to those vital and priceless economic ideas from intellectuals including Dr. Bawumia, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, Prof Turkson, Ken Thompson among others either because they are of opposing political divides or simply because they had their plans mapped out….. TO LOOT AND SHARE!
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. (Proverb 6:16-19)