Business in Ghana

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Archive for June, 2013

Ashaiman Rising, Heroes Faltering and KPMG Confused. Critical News, 30th June 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 30, 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Monday 24th, I set out to a day’s work in Ashaiman.  This weekly ritual since October last year has made me a virtual resident in the Municipality.  But just at the Accra side of the motorway, I answered a friendly call from a cautionary voice.  “Best not to come all the way to the end of motorway; turn off at Abattoir and come round Adjei-Kojo”.  Moments later, “change the plan, stay away from Ashaiman today, lets meet tomorrow instead, Ashaiman is on fire!”

The week before, I arrived at the Ashaiman spur just at the end of the motorway and circled round as usual into the straight entry into Ashaiman.  Unlike other days, the traffic was light and free.  The usual trotros and long haul vehicles were parked on the sides and there was a gathering to the left of the approach, where an open space with fitter shops (the traditional flooding ground in the rainy season) was hosting the Ashaimanese (I like this label, sounds very Burma primeval-forest-tribe-like, don’t you think?) driving community.  I moved on quickly, conscious of the meeting time and grateful that for once I would not have to make excuses for the traffic and Goro boys who come close, yet never fender-bend, deftly turning, confidence carved from experience. Read the rest of this entry »

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Plenty Men Shall Fall That Day. Critical News, 23rd June 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 23, 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

My sincerest apologies to Tony Lithur.  Some awkward sentence construction from last week, prompted my old buddy to drop me a complaint email.  I admit my sentence made it read as if he was part of the team of lawyers referred to the General Legal Council, which was not the case.  So, apologies in order.

This week, I should say what I have been planning for ages.  Praise to the Ghana Police MTTU unit.  If you have not noticed, they are doing a really splendid job these days.  Even on Sundays.  It is what we need to make the city worth living in and traveling round.  If you have some sway over Department of Urban Roads, it might be worthwhile to point out to them (DUR) that parking control, pedestrian walkways, removing rubbish dumps and hawkers from the streets will go a long way to making your work much easier and more fulfilling.  Don’t ask the Mayor.

Somehow Mayor Oko Vanderpuye, despite failing to properly manage the capital city in all ways, pulled a fast one on the Ga Chiefs and Assemblymen who suddenly think he makes the best fufu and light soup ever.  What I saw on TV, they were up in arms, baying for his neck.  Next thing he was waving a drawing of their new offices and palace, then, news flash; all complaints of disrespect, dictatorship, incompetence and heaped ailments disappeared and turned calamity to a praise and worship session.  Reminded me of the Church of Pentecost service I graced mid-week. Read the rest of this entry »

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Before Election Results Are, Pink Sheets Is. Critical News, 16th June 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 16, 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Citizen Vigilante had his day in court, Citizen Vigilante won his day in court.  Martin Amidu took his case against Waterville and Woyome and in no uncertain terms, the Supreme Court gave its ruling and clawed back $47million.  Even though they deferred to the lower courts to decide on Woyome, they fired a critical salvo against lawyers in the cases, Peasah Boadu for Waterville, Osafo Buabeng for Woyome, Tony Lithur for Austro Invest and maybe Ekow Awoonor who acted as sole mediator between parties with then AG Betty Mould Iddrissu.  They referred matters to the Legal Council and we expect some action.  I am thrilled that perhaps this is a signal to Ghanaians that our Supreme Court has found wings to cleanse the timidity stigma, asserting their self-ruling judgment in contrast to lugging government wishes.  Two things.  The Supreme Court restoring confidence in its independence and Martin persevering to the end and securing the verdict that all were skeptical the Supreme Court would scupper.  So after I heard this, I wondered if President Mahama talking to his NDC family, which is no big deal, could upset the Judges, making them think he was trying to influence their decision.  Might they rather tow a hard line, slighted by his presumptiveness and belittling their intelligence? Read the rest of this entry »

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Fire and Witchcraft Tactics For Over-Voters. Critical News, 9th June 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 9, 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

My reckless adventure into selling street side top-ups, taught me a valuable lesson this week.  I usually buy credit from Kojo Mbrah (his real name), been doing so for at least a year and we have become good buddies.  I get the occasional credit, same as I get from my newspaper boy Kwesi at the foothills of McCarthy Hill.  They are always surprised that sometimes their Obroni does not have five cedis to make the essential purchase.  Anyway, in a dare with Kojo I challenged that I could sell more credit with less effort than he does in a day.  He took me on, Tuesday morning and I parked opposite Abrantie Spot at La Paz and hit the streets with a stack of top up cards trusted to me by Mr. Mbrah.  I spent planning time and placed the cards in separate pockets to ease delivery, and with a list of all my stock, I trumped east side, close enough to the traffic lights as I see them do every time.  Fifteen minutes later I had sold two cedis and the race for the cars was hot, not counting the rising sun and no adjustable air conditioning.  I am pushing harder and harder, profiling my competitors and gauging their positioning strategy on the curbs.  In an hour, my sales tally was still two cedis.  Nobody is buying from me, customers are taken and loyalty to sellers is key.  I have become an enigma rather than a novelty item, which I was counting on.  My bet was I pay Kojo his fifteen cedis profit he makes in a day if I could not sell as many in half the time, and as I am running up and down the road breaking the law, a Trotro labeled “agoro anso a, egu”  (if a game does not prosper, it finishes) made it an easy choice, when it nearly mashed my toes.  I am standing on the curb, fishing invective from my decadent childhood, thinking, Kojo makes four hundred and fifty cedis in a good month.  I could earn that kind of money in a day if I lectured at Ashesi University or as an advisor to Government.  I pay Kojo his fifteen cedis and head for the cool comfort of the car.  This street hawking is tough, dangerous, illegal and perilous.  The barriers to entry are sealed with consumer loyalty and you don’t stand a chance as a new entrant.  They are a poverty cartel of friends, linked through a common survival purpose.  Don’t do as I did.  Life is very different at Informal sector level. Read the rest of this entry »

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State Institutions Are Not Deserving Of Our Blind Faith And Trust

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 9, 2013

Ben Ofosu–Appiah, TOKYO, JAPAN.

There is palpably a lack of faith and trust in state institutions in Ghana today because majority of Ghanaians think they are not working. Instead of these institutions doing the job they were set up to do, at worst they operate mostly against the tenets for which they were established, and at best they exist to protect the interest and needs of only a few, the powerful and the rich in the society.

Obama in a 2009 address to Ghana’s Parliament exhorted Ghanaians and Africans in general to build stronger institutions because they are the foundations upon which democratic governance depends. There is no doubt that strong, accountable, effective, independent, fair and impartial institutions that do the job they were set up to do without fear or favour are the pillars upon which democratic governance is anchored. However, if these state institutions are weak, lethargic, incompetent, and palpably corrupt, we the people lose faith in them and with it the entire democratic governance process. Read the rest of this entry »

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Countdown To The Pink Sheet Count. Critical News, 1st June 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 2, 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

This is so frustrating and I wonder if I can ever get over it.  Institutions in Ghana commit to delivering solutions without a care to a promise.  We citizens are beholden to this unique group of handicapped managers who know they are incapable of delivering what they promise.  Deep down, we also know they are not capable, but we hang on to a string of hope that just mayhaps, some unknown phenomenon will enable ECG to meet a timetable for load shedding scheduled to end this week (my week ends on Saturday).  I am not as gullible, so I woke up at 4am Sunday, noted a few points pending a switch on, which went out at 6.30pm last night.  Since then, four flickers of light, thirty seconds each.  From experience we switch off all appliances soon as the lights go out, cheaper than buying a new fridge or deep freezer.  But should I have to live this way?  This is the twenty-first century for Christ sake and I am competing with other parties interested in supporting the same international clients I am courting.  The damage control I have to go through just to maintain the client does not leave any space to do the work itself.  I am constantly emotionally exhausted, clinically fatigued and mentally sapped at the end of every week.  My Sundays used to be leisurely, easy, calm and relaxing, looking forward to the occasional visitor dropping in unexpectedly and making life a worthwhile trip.  But this? This is just “knaff”, to borrow a very Cockney expression. Read the rest of this entry »

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