Business in Ghana

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Show Me The Wakinns. Critical News, 25th May 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on May 25, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford,

Have you ever had to charge your phone for twelve cedis?  Fuseini and his team at Madina got the benefit of my largesse when I force stopped at their workshop.  Desperate and needing to put some juice in my phone so I could ask for directions to where I was heading, “Lucky Boys Cleaning System” off road side also needed fuel for their generator so they could finish off some orders; “dumsor” since morning had pushed them to the brink of contractual failure.  It was 5.35pm.

Donning bright yellow decorated T-shirts and jeans, glorified underpants on display in defiant repugnance, we worked out a compromise.  I would buy a gallon of petrol and they would plug my phone in for as long as I needed.

I was pleased to help some brothers out, leverage a dig at ECG with this piece and middle-finger Government for its non-delivery of a Better Ghana.  I have never understood the slogan anyway.

So thanks guys, “abusua” forever.

I don’t know what more to say about Subah Infosystems, GRA and motorbike contracts and unraveling JOSPONG Group sagas.  Every where you turn, either Jospong or RLG is taking free tax-payer money and walking away or some government official is lying about how cash actually kind of oozed into their bank accounts.  What is going on with these two companies is simply boggling.

When it comes to Government contracts they are like so invisible until the news breaks in the media.

So Anglogold Ashanti is going to take a short break from making losses to re-gather and storm back into the fray.  When the price of gold ticks up?

This week the gold mining giant decided to lay off close to five thousand workers in order to save the collapsing Obuasi mine and settle workers up to fifty thousand dollars each until they are able to reopen.

Well, some Civil Society organizations suggest Government step in and re-visit the acquisition contract and force them to stay open?  I didn’t quite get the argument, especially after Kwesi Pratt added his million cedi worth of Neolithic interpretation, so I leave this story to unfold.  I have no clue how it will pan out, but the Union and Staff have accepted the payout and I think that is where it will end.

But let me devote this week to President Mahama and why I am convinced we are not coming out of this economic malaise any time from now.

In a speech read on his behalf at the 4th African Bible Leadership Initiative in Accra, the President clearly does not see that Senchi is his last action drama to turn his “challenges” into concrete solutions.

In his mind, “the Senchi Declaration would serve as the foundation for a sound ethical value on which the economic policies and prescriptions would stand the test of time”.

Really?  Mr President, Ghanaians think we should be roofing the house and you are still laying the foundation?

Let me borrow from one of your previous speeches.  You know, the ones you read without any conviction in your voice, but with lots of promises

September 2012, forty days after Prof. Atta Mills’ death and as new President of Ghana.

“I am ready, here and now, to walk the talk. I am inviting our private sector partners to join me next week in inaugurating the Private Sector Advisory Council, a body that will serve as the apex of all strategic issues affecting private sector development. As chair of the Council, I will have direct oversight for engaging the capacities of the private sector. The days of public sector bureaucracy stifling private sector efforts must be over. Within the framework of the Private Sector Advisory Council, I will institute a hot-line system, which will receive complaints of bureaucratic impediments to accelerated private sector operations, for both domestic and foreign investors. These complains will be investigated and actions taken forthwith.”

No complaint yet to the President, no complaints registered in the media and twenty months later we did the Royal Senchi retreat, with the economy in dire straits.

The emphasis from Senchi was on implementing policy, projects and programs, and when we say we have handed over to the politicians and will now see where it goes, it is a matter of utmost seriousness.

Let me take a few more paragraphs from the President’s speech referred to above just to drive home this week’s title.  Read to yourself in a flat monotone, no emphasis on any sentence, finish it and move on to your next text, no pause in between.

“Mr. Chairman, my very good friend PV, distinguished guests, our development partners, fellow Ghanaians representing the private sector, civil society, and academia, my message to you today is simple: Ghana, our motherland, is getting more united, stronger, and we have come too far to turn back now.”

“Today is exactly 40 days, in traditional Ghanaian computation, since the passing of our beloved President Professor John Evans Atta-Mills, and in that tradition, 40 days is the time to take stock and to announce the decisions that have been made for the future. While we continue to keep the memory of our dear president in our hearts and minds, the surest way to immortalise him is to recommit ourselves to his agenda to create a Better Ghana for all.”

“My task in the four months left of the unexpired term of this administration is to ensure effective completion of the agenda set by the Government of the Late President whom I had the honor of serving as Vice President. The commitment to invest in people, to build a strong economy, to develop infrastructure and to ensure transparency and accountability in governance were the building blocks of the Better Ghana Agenda and I remain steadfast in pursuing that commitment. While this presentation might appear lengthy, I wish to point out that this is not a State of the Nation address and therefore not meant to comment on every sector of national life. What I intend this to be is a policy guide to the nation so that we can together fully maximize our resources and energies towards consolidating the gains that we have made over the last 4 years.”

“Among the priorities that were set for this final year of the first term:”

“Consolidating our achievements in holding down inflation and maintaining macro-economic stability;”

“Maintaining discipline in government expenditure so as to avoid unbudgeted expenditure that can distort the economy;”

“Effectively implementing the single spine salary structure for public services so that improved remuneration for our public servants can lead to increased productivity in their performance;”

“Stimulating growth in our agriculture and industry with a view to generating jobs, especially for the youth of our country;”

“Accelerating infrastructure development;”

“Ensuring wise utilization, in a transparent manner, of oil revenues and revenues;”

“Ensuring proper governance of our other natural resources;”

“Ensuring local content as a cross-sectoral imperative.”

“I will also address a number of other subjects, specifically;”

“Social development, particularly health, education, sanitation and social interventions;”

“Governance and anti corruption;”

“Peace, security, discipline and Election 2012; and our relations with development partners; and Foreign Policy.”

Judge the President from your retina.  Had he lived up to these words there would have been no need for the Royal Senchi retreat.  In fact there would have been no “dumsor”, the cedi would probably not have depreciated to this extent and we might not be complaining so much.

You must walk the talk when you lead and this President is not showing us his “wakinns”.

And don’t I just love Bukom Banku.  In another unraveling of the English language, Bukom says he will not give Ayittey Powers another shot at the title because of the way he “made him pasaa”.  Hyping it up even more, he will only be tempted with a sum close to one billion cedis (I think he meant old cedis) to offer Powers another shot.

But Powers believes he will get another chance since he has not given up on TB Joshua.  Didn’t know Bukom had also consulted another oracle before the fight.  So now the fight is oracle to oracle.

Long live Moses, his staff and his journey out of Israel.  I am booking my ticket in advance, because this is the kind of rivalry that makes good money.

I hear Dr. Kwesi Botchway will be giving his views on the state of the economy at the Central University College Lectures on 3rd June.  I hope he talks about why he resigned from the Rawlings government.

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

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