Business in Ghana

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State of the Nation. Critical News, 13th May 2012

Posted by Business in Ghana on May 13, 2012

Sydney Casely-Hayford, Sydney@bizghana.com

Mahamadu Bawumia’s “state of the nation’s economy” speech excited the NDC to no end.  A kink in the NDC campaign armour, seems to have thrown the ruling Government into a complete tizz.  After Deputy Finance Minister Fiifi Kwetey and Deputy Information Minister Samuel Ablakwa did their discrediting tour last week, this week’s salvo came from two Government Institutions.  The Ghana Statistical Service because they felt slighted by Bawumia, held a press conference to disparage his views and label him a dangerous academic, and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning took out a double page advertisement in the Daily Graphic to “set the records straight”.

I think the brouhaha is more about a campaign pillar that is dented than credibility issues.

Those of us who follow the economic news avidly and have been doing so for a few decades now, know that there have been problems with the data and its interpretation.  The GSS itself knows this and the MOFEP also is very aware of the gaps in the reporting and inconsistencies in the structure of the economy.  We will be far better off admitting to the criticism and finding solutions than spending money on defensive postures that take us only in circles.

There is no single Ministry in this country that does not have capacity issues, funding issues, project management issues and logistics issues.  Government Statistician Philomena Nyarko would have done us proud if she admitted to the problems and pledged to do better in the future.

We are fast arriving at a point in time when Freedom, Justice and Nobility cannot seem to gather in one place and have a chat about true problems.

The cost of living in Ghana is sky rocketing.  We all feel it everyday in our pockets, unless you do not go to the market.  What we need is a realistic attempt to solve the rising tide of expenditure rather than a political discourse in the public domain about the relationship between interest rates, inflation and a depreciating cedi.

Between Bawumia, Philomena, Fiifi, Sammy and Nana Akomea we lost an opportunity to get into the 240 items in 40 markets living index.  What really is the composition of the basket of goods used by the GSS to measure the cost of living and inflation in this country?  Just tell us and let an informed society make some decisions for itself.

Johnson Asiedu Nketia.  A little short on memory and analytical skills.  You can choose to ignore him or rebut his deliberate fire stoking.  First he concludes that the NPP have been rigging the votes consistently in the past, on the basis that the voting registration is lower by about 100,000 in the Ashanti Region.  Then he directs Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings to go get her umbrella from the Electoral Commission.  Rihanna was in hospital and I could not reach her for comments on the umbrella issue.  I think she has the rights to anything umbrella in the creative arts arena, doesn’t she?

So Nana Konadu claimed this week that the NDC party logo is her intellectual property and the party is destroying the concept that inspired her to create the logo.  Mischief?  Vindictive?  In my world there is no sympathy for the Rawlings’.  I am fully convinced that between them and Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, Ghana took a 30-year set back in democracy, economic reform and human rights.  I find it very strange that we charge Kennedy Agyapong with treason when JJ Rawlings is walking free in Ghana, protected by the very constitution that criminalizes Kennedy.  I disagree with what Kennedy did totally, but if ever there was evidence of treason, it must be in staging a coup.  And one person has done it twice.

I heard that the votes registered in the Volta Region are just as low if not lower than many other regions.  We wait to see.

But will Philomena Nyarko, Government Statistician release the census results before the elections in December?  Don’t hold your breath, I hear Bawumia will be releasing another paper soon and she might get too busy defending GSS’ “integrity” to sign off on the numbers.

Just aother minor hiccup as Kofi Adams decided not to arbitrate his disciplinary issue with the NDC, but go all the way to court and back.  He is suing for wrongful dismissal?  Can you please shout out loud on this?  What will he do if he wins?  Go back and join the team again?  Vindictiveness?

So Otumfuor turned 62 in Manhyia over the weekend.  I thought I was older, but looks like he pips me by a few years.  It was a quiet celebration and no one sent him a jet, unlike his counterpart in Lesotho.  I heard though, that he celebrated it his own way.  One thing to be said for Otumfuor, he is looking very regal these days.  He has certainly matured into the kingship.

A young lady was kicked out of the exam hall, her life virtually held back for a 50 cedi school fee.  Fifty cedis?  Is this what inflation has done for us?  In the old days you could have been shot for having 50 cedis.  I suppose she is a victim of the school authority’s idiocy.  How does the punishment fit the crime here?  Are we so desperate for 50 cedis?  Sign of the times?

And Obama went public with his gay views.  Yes, he sees no objection to same sex marriage.  Should President Mills be visiting with someone of his belief?  What advice will he give Obama when he sits with down to chat?  Surely it is hedonistic in Ghana terms to respect gay rights and marriage?  Banned from Takoradi and Ghana, if Atta Mills has his way.  As he says, not as long as he is President of this country will homosexuals be accepted.  Well, Obama thinks different.  So what is the position?  Ok to take the money but not the equal rights position?

Ghana, aha a ye de papa! alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

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