Business in Ghana

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Archive for September, 2013

The Sun Always Rises From The East. Critical News, 29th September 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 29, 2013

 

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I remember as a rookie auditor with Deloitte, Haskins and Sells in the late 70’s we had the assigned task of reporting on the truth, Fairness or otherwise of the state of affairs of Ghana Water and Sewerage and State Construction Company.  With a financial audit, one of the key things you preserve is internal control procedures and safeguarding the assets of the company.

My task in 1977 was to audit the Central Stores and make a report on findings.  There is a procedure for doing this and I went through the paces.  Now, most importantly, you look for requisite authorized signatures, payment vouchers, copies of cheques, bank statements and evidence of payment for contracts etc.   But this is not an audit lesson, so here is the point.  I had a dilemma, because in my sample was a set of imported snow tires from Russia.  No documents to cover the purchase, but a payment to suppliers for delivery.  I had procedural problems and clear improper procedure.  The goods were part of my stock count and curious about when we would be able to use snow tires, I expanded my work to include any orders made from this supplier and subsequently all improper documentation, particularly any sole-signed documents by a key officer.  It was a messy affair.  I reported my findings to my manager, now an Omanhene, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II and received a most critical lesson in auditing. Read the rest of this entry »

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We Are Heading For Trouble. Critical News, 22nd September 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 22, 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I made a trip to the airport during the week, just to see what Tony Lithur had been able to do since his appointment on Tuesday 17, as Board Chairman of the Ghana Airports Company.  After Doreen Owusu Fianko was sacked by the Board and Mahama was irritated enough to retire the entire Board, who had served their term anyway, and reward Tony for all the services he performed during the election petition, we are in for a load of trouble.  This is a job of perks.  I am sure you get a Board stipend of sorts, (ah! If only the Freedom of Information Act was in place, I might tell you more of the compensation package.  For now, let me speculate) you could get a VIP pass, access to all parts of the port, customs and security waivers and most definitely some freebies for air travel, since all the airlines will be lobbying for your attention.  All told, he might recover his legal fees plus more, but I cannot say that was the intention.  Tony is a good man, busy round the clock, and I am not sure how he will make the time to manage the Board.  But hey, society sees it only as a reward for petition services; ask Joe Public if I am mis-thinking.

A host of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) arrived KIA to get a taste of our dripping ceilings, non-uniformed security guards, no signs for wandering visitors, poor air conditioning and toilets that do not flush and stink to hell. Read the rest of this entry »

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My Cross Too Bare. Critical News, 15th September 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 15, 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Making a small stop at the local Engen station just before Weija, I met a most interesting person.  Kwayemu Mensah sells herbal concoctions with a skill that engaged my mind for close to 45 minutes.  Waiting for a quick oil change before my trip to Cape Coast on Saturday, which I abandoned when I got to Mankessim because the roundabout was choked to grid lock, Kwayemu was prescribing medicines to all around him, explaining his solutions, throwing in a few “ntosuo” prayers and his customers were lapping it up.

Previously, as I drove into the station, I was approached by a very attractive young twenty something swaying thirty-eight inch hips in stretch jeans and a Tee Shirt struggling to hold back perky breasts, who pitched me with a health shop flyer, offering herbal, massage and other solutions in direct competition to Kwayemu’s partially broken herbal basket packed with deep rust brown discarded Voltic bottles of fluid guaranteed to cure Kooko, erectile dysfunction, early ejection, general body pains, urine difficulties and any disease you could conjure. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Better GYEEDA Agenda. Critical News, 8th September 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 8, 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Sometimes you have to give credit where it is due, sometimes you leave things alone, sometimes you have to call people to task and sometimes you simply throw your hands up in the air in despair and move on.

This week, congratulations to ECG for stepping to the grid.  I tried to recall the last time I had a power outage and I failed.  We have fixed something at the powerhouse and I am pleased to note that the people’s voice made a difference to this cause.  Had we not persistently called Government out, we would still be sitting in it.  So I appreciate the ECG response but they should not forget that billing issues are still awkward and response times when we have critical failure is still on their doorstep.  We still have voltage and current levels to fix, but I think there is now focus at the company, so until we fix the cheap Chinese meters, improperly calibrated and running at faster rates than tariffed, we have a ways to go yet.

I am also taking my hat off to Ghana Water.  Again, we have had good supply and maintained a steady quality to homes (mi dzi mi fie asem).  Billing errors and late posting to customer accounts still bedevil us and I hope they are looking at resolving this with some electronic payments of sorts.  The technology is available, so make the investment and reap the benefits in the medium to long term. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Happened To Us? Critical News, 1st September 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 1, 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

It is over.  With a finality that left us numb and confused, Thursday morning, prepped for the 10am start, like many other Ghanaians I had a good breakfast with family, our mindsets tuned to a historical upheaval of one sort or another and we weren’t disappointed.  We had a historical event, it ended so quickly even the Petition and Respondent lawyers did not understand the verdict.  Watching aghast, both sides tried to digest the decision, neither the NDC nor the NPP realizing it was over.  So not seeing the NPP roaring a win, the NDC figured they had won and started waving white handkerchiefs.  Were Ghanaians disappointed?  What happened to us?  Accra went mute, Kumasi shut down, Takoradi just closed shop and the NDC party itself could only celebrate at their Headquarters.  The streets went silent and traffic flowed in an uneasy stream, reflecting Ghanaians’ response to the judgment.

We sat on tenterhooks from December when the NPP filed its petition to annul the results of the 2012 elections, we waited patiently through as much of the legal shenanigans as we could possibly imbibe and we waited as the Supreme Court Judges disrespected us for three hours until they filed in at 1pm for Justice Atuguba to fumble through his opening statement, his attempted apology failing abysmally to convey the sense of turmoil, which we all knew there would be, but in the end, on behalf of his fellow Justices, in less than fifteen minutes, they confused all Ghana and diminished our stature on the world stage.  Our singular chance to assert to Africa that dictators and politicians are finally displaced, replaced by law and justice went out the window with fifteen-minute justice deadness. All the admonishing and berating free speech advocates, the tough talk from the Bench in the run up, petered into a whimpered decision.  No explanations, our logic will be available in seven days.  See the Registrar. Read the rest of this entry »

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