Business in Ghana

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Return Trip, Kaneshie to Movenpick. Critical News, 1st June 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 1, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I think I hold the Guinness/ECG record in dumsor.  If you totally do not have any electricity where you are, you cannot enter the draw.  A picture amused me on my Whatsup page showing an ECG office with a small generator powering the office.  I thought, how apt.

But this was after I had gone through two continuous days with not a kilowatt drip and power had been interrupted off and on sixteen times during the week.  Is there anyone out there to match this?  We should compile a chart to compare.  Winner gets a Gen-set.  “ECG your darkness is their happiness”.

And in a city where street hawking is illegal, Adinkra Pastries staff donned green trousers, green scarves, a green apron tied perfectly below a white T-shirt, and sporting a new brand of charley wote, invaded the streets in Oko Vanderpuye’s face where he has abandoned traffic control to the hawker.

Defiantly vending meat pie and rolls, they crowd the streets, setting a new standard for others to follow as we do “kioskenomically”.  There is no AMA task officer in their face until they become part of the poverty tapestry, too underprivileged to be “social-democratically” abandoned.

I wondered for a minute whether this was another GYEEDA module, “Pastries in Street Hawking”?

The “Boko-WAS” meeting on Friday, was successfully recognizable by the traffic jams in the city.  We only held one conference at the Movenpick Ambassador and traffic police, who heightened security pending the imminent invasion by Boko Haram, slapped all Accra commuters at the back of head.

I have not seen any such recent terror tactics since JJ’s gut made him incapable of climbing into the hole of a Mohawk tank, and this demonstration of erratic power brought back a degree of incompetence I thought we had surpassed.

Energy solutions by 2016?  Don’t believe it.  Do you remember November 2012?  We are witnessing the same thing since after the Senchi meeting.  No visible follow up and no attempt to release the detail of the meeting as promised.

I recall on good authority that the 140 participants from Senchi would meet with the President to share some of the deeper discussions, which shaped the final communiqué that was made public.

But let’s roll back to November 2012 and the Presidential debates held by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).  This paragraph is taken from their website and demonstrates how each candidate saw the discussion on corruption at the time.

“On the issue of corruption, Dr Sakara pointed to decentralisation as the way to improving transparency and accountability. Nana Addo promised to set up a new anti-corruption body.  He also criticised judgment debt payments of the government, referring to them as “dubious”.  President Mahama rejected the claim that payment of judgment debts were in itself corruption and said that abrogation of contracts by the previous regime had created legal tussles that resulted in the payments, adding that some people may have taken advantage of such a situation to defraud government.”

So the Minister for Local Government and some non-identified persons in some less known roles were sacked last week.  No reasons given, but I like the idea that our President has developed some below the abdomen capacity to relieve some nobodies.  What did they do wrong?  Was it corruption related, was it political pressure?  Could it be that one or two of them were not towing political lines?

Or was one of them taking advantage of the situation?  Maybe awarding Subah Infosystems a contract they did not deserve?

It is important for our Governments to understand that good governance is not only that you follow what is constitutioned in ink; it is about doing what is right and more than right.  Going beyond the standards even when the expectation is at standard.  You have to stretch the limits and raise the bar; let those who wish to follow appreciate what lofty heights they must groom to track.

And at the same debates, the President promised dumsor would be a thing of the past within a few days.  Four months later he reneged on the promise and gathered Duncan Williams, together with a disharmony of priests to explain how evil forces had taken over the power supply space and were creating havoc with our nightlife.  The Africa Report captured it succinctly in this piece by Kwabena Mensah.

Several more times the President has come public to “cure” the dumsor only to cower back into his Flagstaff fortress and resurface with another excuse.  The most amusing was the April 2013 prayer service reported in The New Palaver.

“President John Dramani Mahama on Sunday announced that government has ended the off peak load-shedding in the country, while the entire load-shedding would end by the end of April.  He explained that the load-shedding would now be only during the day time, and that, he would from Monday visit the Aboadze and other Thermal Plants to ensure that Ghana regained her electricity she enjoyed over the years.  Government will also ensure that never again shall we experience the electricity load shedding in the coming years.” He added.

President Mahama said this when he joined Christians from all walks of life during the National Prayer and Thanksgiving Service at the Black Star Square, Accra”.  This was April 7th 2013.

Isn’t there something wrong when you invoke the religious emoticon, make promises you do not keep, come back to re-explain and yet continue to flout the ardor of spirituality?  How does that a Christian and chosen one of God make?

Or is it ok to lie with good intention as a backdrop?

Our Government cannot solve this energy crisis because it is either simply not capable or it lives in denial.  This week, the VRA came up openly with realistic projections to explain why various scenarios are not an option to fix, particularly achieving 5,000MW supply by 2015.

There simply isn’t enough supply to meet demand.  Same as there simply isn’t enough revenue and cash in the Nation’s accounts to meet expenditures we need to make.

Brace yourself for another two or more years of this, and live with a less than acceptable standard.  We are at the low end of a modern society, possibly at the top end of a primitive curve.  When you cannot open your sink tap to spew clean, drinkable water from one morning to the next, stop thinking you are a lower-middle income economy.  Your plight and standard are mismatched.

En route to the “Boko-WAS” event via Kaneshie to the Movenpick, it took only twenty minutes in the morning.  Other than Adinkra Pastries defiantly plodding the tarmac, I cursed the dearth of respect by the MTTU on the two and a half hour return journey.  My attempt to avoid the jam, using the side streets in Asylum Down to cut into Nkrumah Circle already compounded because of the new overhead pass, which by the way is coming along nicely with less disruption than I imagined, was uncreative and forced a pit stop for fuel, no cash and credit cards not accepted.

Had to walk back half a kilometre to find an ATM before I could carry on.

But Mahama and his crew did a good deed.  Boko Haram has to be stopped and I like the idea that we can move ahead with better cooperation.  We just need to relieve the trade barriers, the corruption and the currency issues and border checks.

It is good they wanted to show the rest of the world our posh Movenpick hotel, even though I think Peduase Lodge would have been better placed to sight all insurgents coming up the hillside.  Suddenly I miss Gbevlo Lartey.  He could have explained all this in perfect gobbledygook.

The dream for ECOWAS started as free trade and movement.  All these years and we are only now pledging to get there.  Frustration.

If you watched the Black Stars match against the Dutch, you should now fold your portfolio and hang the clothes back in the wardrobe.  We play entertaining football, and Jordan Ayew’s skills on the ball are totally unquestionable.  When his brother Abedi came on in the second half was the only time you saw a pick-up in the aggression and desire to score some goals.

So me, if this is how we are going to run around the field doing ketch3 and strutting in white jerseys, then I am off to support Brasil.  I like the samba game, but they too these days just play with the ball between their feet, no goals in sight.

As3m b3 ba June 15.  Don’t quote me.

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

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