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MAHAMA-nomics, Chooboi. Critical News, 22nd December 2013

Posted by Business in Ghana on December 22, 2013

Sydney Casely-Hayford,

We are trying to get our Government to actually do something about corruption instead of just talking their way out of a corruption tunnel.  The NDC Government cannot deny that they spent a lot of money in the run up to the 2012 elections.  In my opinion there has been no real explanation for where the money went.  There was some single spine, but a whole load more.  The Auditor general points to major expense in interest payments and other expenditure by Government, hitherto unexplained.

I will devote the last article of the year next week to a review of the Auditor’s report and more economic related matters.  I can’t understand why we are beating about the bush when we have such a powerful Presidency with powers to correct just about anything in this country.

As an example, John Mahama can ask all the ministers currently in government and who were part of moving the GYEEDA process onward without sensible due diligence to step aside while the investigation goes ahead.  Then he can ask the former minister of finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor to come and explain how he supervised the release of so much money without following due process at the Ministry, the Budget Office, the Controller and Accountant General’s office, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the GYEEDA team; looked away when all this was happening.

He can also say to the treasury office of his party to explain for him so he can understand how his presidential campaign was funded. And these are just examples.  If it was part of Government spending, then how much more of such expenditure contributed to his office blowing their 2012 budget ceiling?

His ministers say we should mark 2014 as the year of action against corruption.  We had one in 2011, with President Mills.  We are still in it.

Just as we thought we were piling on the pressure at CHRAJ, EOCO and the Sole Commissioner’s court, Old Parliament House burnt down.  I wonder why it waited all these years to catch fire this week?  We have had many “political” fires this year, even the Americans could not tell us whether we “arsoned” our markets or caused electrical sparks with poor connections.  So, what are the chances we will find an arsonist in this colonial building?

I will have to re-file my GYEEDA petition next week, just in case it made the inferno.

Andrew Awuni and the Center for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) were blown out of the Commercial Court, the judge agreeing with Lithur and others that he had no locus in the MERBAN matter.  So CFA counsel, Egbert Faibaille filed an appeal.  Commonsense view?  If SSNIT Trustees are not duty-bound to explain transactions to contributors, then whose money are they trusted with?

A probably well-intentioned President Mahama, prepared to investigate corruption yet his party is yet to file annual returns for the financial year ended, a major campaign financier is still weaving the court a new Kente, cannot expect that we are really going to start believing the rhetoric that he will prosecute the Agams Group and the Jospong Group.

JDM wants us all to shout that we believe and accept everything he has on the table will yield results and not criticize his work.  Citing Japan, Malaysia and other country’s efforts to buttress his case, he blames Ghanaians for not being supportive enough, as a reason for failure in much development.  I will be the first to admit that we can do better if we pull together better, but JDM must appreciate that in all cases he cites, leaders are the ones who pull the masses in tow.  I promise I will be the first to shout success when I see it.  So far, his corruption eradication rhetoric has not yielded anything and when the Attorney General’s office comes to tell me they might have arrived at a point with some of the service providers to refund monies illegally acquired and that could be the end of the matter, I cringe for our ethics, civility and belief in checking the corruption value chain.

On a top-level analysis of where we are heading, I make the following observations leading into my final piece next week to end the year.

The first critical issue and most immediate is that our middle class is weak and cannot support the consumer spending that should drive economic growth. Households in the middle – who are most likely to spend their incomes rather than save them and who are, in a sense, the true job creators – have lower household incomes, adjusted for inflation, than they did in 2008.  The way we are trying to grow the economy is unsustainable. It is reliant on a porous 20 percent middle and upper income economy propping up the bottom 80 percent who cannot consume significant amounts of economic activity and do not have the spending power to support even their own baseline poverty.

Second, consistent decimation and indenting of middle class wealth since the Rawlings era, a phenomenon broken timeously but briefly in 2000, means the middle class have sacrificed too much investment in their future, supporting quality education for themselves and their children and by starting or improving businesses.

Third, the weakness of the middle class is holding back tax receipts, especially because those at the top are so adroit in avoiding taxes; with Flagstaff House giving tax breaks for political longevity.  The recent unconvincing political gesture to sacrifice ten percent of executive salaries was at best a diversion from real erosion of earning capacity in the private sector.  Returns from the Capital Markets are not significant enough to provide a financially dominant middle income democracy while low tax receipts mean that the government cannot make the vital investments in infrastructure, education, research and health that are crucial for restoring long-term economic strength.

Fourth, the severe boom-and-bust quadrennial cycle every election year makes our economy more volatile and vulnerable. This reckless excuse to perpetuate political self translates into a corruption dragon and it is no coincidence that instrumentalist politics have entrenched so that inequality gaps in income and wealth in the country is so high.

Even remote stakeholders like the Economist Intelligence Unit, sounded their own caution this week, calling on our President to realign his politics and economics.  The all-inclusive Mahama-nomics is at risk.

But Citi Fm did a most civilized thing this year, they gave a book present in place of Xmas “hamper”, raising the stature of intellectualism with Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath” (not the Christian story).  Every now and then there is a glimmer of hope.  But you should have seen the hamper queues at the Immigration Service from the Chinese contingents.  Mind-boggling.  I see no reason why we cannot give out hampers.  It is Christmas, a season of giving and sharing, so why not?  When we do favors for people all year round, “aseda” should be encouraged.  It is our culture.

What I objected to most, was the Police coming to tell me I cannot light knockout and other loud noise-making fireworks, invoking some old 1999 military dictatorship statute that would not be in our law records at this time if not for JJ’s paranoia and dictatorship.

Me, I am going to unwind at Decemba to Rememba on 24th December with Tiffany, Kakie, 4×4, Bisa Kwadie, EL, and the host of performers who make Azonto Ghana worth the effort; rhythm and sound that shake hips and move feet, where adowa, agbadza, takai, damba, kundum and kpanlogo all combine in this exciting dance form.  I am going to “neke-neke” till early hours and may 2014 arrive soon.  We have things to fix.

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

One Response to “MAHAMA-nomics, Chooboi. Critical News, 22nd December 2013”

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