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Cancel The Budget, Who Used A Power Point?. Critical News, 7th April 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 7, 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

This week, we started chucking out the Chinese Galamsey operators and President Mahama had to set time aside to reassure our Asian friends that we do appreciate them and we want them to stay and work with us.  He couldn’t be more wrong and this is where I have problems with my President.  He is a history graduate and I expect that he will at least remember some stuff that happened in our past.  I recall something about Chinese and Ashanti Goldfields and mining in Ghana from the history I read so I delved into it, and yes, we do have a history.  After the British expedition to Kumasi and the removal of Prempeh in 1896, the Government hoped to open up the new Ashanti territory for exploration (which was the reason the British wanted to conquer Ashanti in the first place anyway).  Several treaties were signed and legislation passed to encourage British companies to come in and “rape” the gold.  This led to the formation of Ashanti Goldfields in 1897 by EA Cade.  But it went further.  TE Bowdich had previously painted a tantalizing picture of mineral wealth in Ashanti when he gave vivid detail in his “Mission from Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee“ in 1819.  In 1897 there was an attempt at public enterprise when then Governor Sir William Maxwell was authorized to spend 1,000 on a scheme for alluvial gold mining, complete with imported Chinese miners and prospectors.  It was a very unpopular promotion.  The idea had been canvassed many times before by others on the grounds that it would “stimulate the lazy African to competition” (CO/96/218); by the District Commissioner at Axim, followed by the Colonial Office enquiries to Hong Kong in 1889.  Again, Maxwell in a memo on “Coolie Immigration to the Gold Coast”.  But in an Op-ed on 20 October 1897, The Gold Coast Express bucked this idea, and on behalf of its people, said “We do not want the “celestials” in West Africa on any account …. China is large enough surely for her own people”.  That is our mining history with the Chinese.  So if they (Chinese) are not feeling too comfortable in today’s Ghana, it is a deep-grained problem.  Now, we need their money so we accommodate their disregard of our laws.  But you have to go and try and live and work in China to experience how they treat African immigrants there.  Ghanaians have no special place in the hearts of the Chinese, our gold holds the attraction and our poverty holds back the legislation necessary for us to create win-win regulation to control reckless exploration and river pollution.

In my opinion and from the detailed analysis I have on my desk, yet to be made public, Parliament has approved an unworkable budget.  This year’s budget deficit is ghc8billion.  Look, the NDC Government has experience in spending this same amount of money without approval, so now it is passed in the Appropriation Law, they will have no problem spending it and maybe more.  Let no one be under the impression that the reason for austerity in Ghana is the fault of any other Ghanaian.  All the issues we are rutted in are because the NDC Government spent wantonly. Between July and December 2012, bank of Ghana issued T. bills on behalf of Government averaging 300million a week.  A rough calculation over 26 weeks, grosses to ghc7.8billion (300×26).  The Government spent all this money and we will definitely figure out what it was spent on.  This illegal intention cannot be left to fade away.

The President’s office alone overspent its budget by ghc650million.  The President’s office!  Where did the money go?  I know that every month, the Budget Office at the Ministry of Finance, sets the cash ceiling limits for how much each Ministry, Department and Agency can spend.  The only way you can go over the limit is if the Minister of Finance, his Chief Director and the Head of Budget break the rules and allow the limits to be transgressed.  Notice that with all the hubbub on deficits, former Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor has quietly faded from the media.  If anyone knows what really happened, it is the Finance Minister.  I suspect that a lot of pressure was exerted to allow these huge excesses.  I remember the number of statements made that this election year would be different, and it really was.  Never, except for Nkrumah’s time, have we breached the constitution this flagrantly and ignored all the checks in the Financial Accounting Regulations.  We need to do something and it has to be drastic.

Roland Agambire, the Akonfem CEO of rLG fame, received his award from Nigeria Lifestyle magazine, City People.  This award is for “promising” to build a Hope City in the Central Region of Ghana, and he won other awards last year, including CIMG Marketing Man of the year 2012.  So I have decided to compete and cut the sod on my $15billion “Expectation Factory” in Asutaure.  We will grow Sugar Cane, convert it to raw cube sugar (healthy variety) and distribute throughout West Africa by tying the cubes to Akonfem feet and setting them free to fly across the economic bloc.  If I can get a Head of State to come to my opening ceremony, it would help get me in the award business.  Lord knows I need it.

Bertha Sogah is somebody I know.  We met on a Joyfm program and I was intrigued with her commitment to solve problems at MASLOC.  We agreed on a challenge and to meet after a year or so to discuss the issue again.  Now I will never have the opportunity, she allegedly having fallen victim to the scourge she was going to check.  I give Bertha the benefit of the doubt.  She is supposed to have awarded her husband’s micro finance company a loan.  It was returned, but she has lost her job.  This could have been the beginning of some corruption sanitation, until I heard Kwesi Pratt on air saying we need a national definition of Conflict of Interest.  Oh Boy!

Joyfm’s political flagship program Newsfile was such a waste of time this Saturday.  Lackluster, no punches, no revelations and mediocre analysis from some of the panelists made me reflect on my Saturday ritual.  I actually heard panelist, Mr. Thompson say there was nothing really newsy or wrong if Government had overspent its budget by ghc8.65 billion, after all this is something that happens every year.  At that point I switched off and started a conversation with my “wassup-crazy” niece, Naami.  Have you noticed now we have Newsfile on Multi TV as well as on radio, panelists sit with Ipads and tablets, disengaged and reading other material when an “interrogation” is on the cards?  Some things are best done only via radio and I am not sure if we can move away from this tendency.  Paul Adom Okyere does the same as do several other show hosts.  As a once-in-a-while panelist, I find it detracts from the intellectual discourse when your host asks a question and then focuses on the content of their new fad.  At best it is rude and uncouth.

Our president does the same, carries an iPad with him wherever he goes, reading all his speeches from his high tech gizmo.  The disconnect between JDM’s fascination with technology and our Supreme Court Judges’ aversion to anything modern is a stark contrast and places us in separate worlds, completely apart in expedient delivery of results.  Not that JDM is hastily delivering any results, but at least he is venturing the appearance of applying technology.

And what are my Supreme Court Peeps saying?  They think there is something magical about a power point presentation?  Haven’t we gone past the days when computers were a fascination?  I could have recruited a slew of graduate unemployed who could telecast the petition submission live with the smallest of cameras.  We could receive it on our phones via internet (just text code 11709 to all networks); the whole country, all of us, engaged in this most future-defining moment of our history with professional comments from blogs and frivolity via “wassup” and Facebook.  What are they on about?  Trained on computers but never used them properly?  William Atuguba should be ashamed of himself.  I am much older than he is and I understand and use technology everyday.  A power point presentation is a sine qua non for any sizeable audience these days.  Are they worried that something might jump out and bite them?  Maybe some juju will exude powers from the projector and affect their families?  I never heard such a load of trollop in my life. And then they turn around and deny us the right to an open and televised broadcast.  Because of security issues?  What are they fuelled on and why are we paying these people?

Kotoko play a crucial match today, I hope they win.  This is no glowing week and my closing line reads hollow, but my water started flowing this week.

Ghana, Aha a ye de papa.  Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

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2 Responses to “Cancel The Budget, Who Used A Power Point?. Critical News, 7th April 2013”

  1. Time will tell. In the end, truth will out. May God bless mother Ghana.

  2. Bra Boat said

    Boss, this you analysis be ”Brutal” i like it keke. I don’t know why we even make laws in Ghana. Its just a waste of time, no body implements them and nobody obeys them. One day one day

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