Business in Ghana

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Unfaithful in Democracy and Politics. Critical News, 31st August 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on August 31, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Little known events shape your life in diverse ways and I discovered some deeply centered emotional nemesis within me I never knew I harbored. All the way from the seventies.

For five years in my life I worked as a laboratory assistant at the Veterinary Services in Labadi. Formative years when I was on the path to becoming a doctor; a profession I later abandoned as I bogged down with teenage matters and sports, my attention drawn from loftier existentialist matters to simple animal behavior.

I remember distinctly the day my half-Alsatian puppy was run over and I had the first test to put it down and alleviate the pain of suffering from two broken front legs and a partially crushed head.

For hours I struggled with the decision, not realizing I was prolonging the pain because I was vacillating and did not have the courage to let a faithful and dedicated pet pass on peacefully.

I had watched many movies of similar situations and never thought I would not have the courage.

Lady had been with me since she was a puppy and followed me dedicatedly everywhere, at some point constantly outside my bedroom door waiting for morning treats and a new exciting catapult day, when she would run around with me in Kanda Estates picking up birds, agama lizards, anything but toads, which she found out one day were a bitter taste and unworthy of such single-minded devastation from my catapult.

Outdoors was the name of the game then, not tweets, FB, Whatsup and all other more effective but lazy communication we use these days.

As lady faded, I eventually passed the responsibility to my lab friends, stayed away from work for a couple of days, “mourning” my loss, counting my pain.

The last look in Lady’s eyes as I held her at my feet was just too much to give up the long devoted times we lived. Of course I cannot determine how much pleasure warranted her hunting devotion, but I assumed she regressed to her world, a marauding canine, true to her primal instincts every passing morning as we headed out to the concrete wilderness in urban Accra.

Anyway, all this past week, Government Economic Advisor, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson has been in the media condemning NPP’s Dr. Bawumia’s assertions on inflation, the CPI and other economic indicators. Nii Moi forgets himself, so for the record, here is a newspaper extract from 2nd May 2006 of his thoughts then. Just for the record.

Nii Moi Thompson takes on government on way of measuring inflation

“Barely one month after shaking up the policy establishment with a presentation at the University of Cape Coast, which challenged the government’s claim of superior economic management, an economist, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, has again questioned what he describes as “the selective way in which government measures inflation,” and called on the managers of the economy to “do the right thing”.

However, unlike the minority spokesperson on finance, former deputy finance minister, Moses Asaga, who described the latest inflation figures, as “cooked-up”, Dr. Thompson stopped short of dismissing the figures completely. Speaking with The Chronicle a fortnight ago, he said the government’s preferred measure of inflation – the year-on-year measure – was technically flawed and does not fully capture “contemporary price developments in the consumer goods market.”

“In February 2006, the year-on-year measure showed a decline in the inflation rate from 14.6 percent in January to 12.1 percent, despite a 10.0 percent increase in petroleum prices. But for the same February, the monthly measure of inflation showed an increase from 0.7 percent in January to 2.5 percent, which was reflective of the hike in the prices of petroleum prices and the subsequent increase in the prices of consumer goods, the outspoken economist said. “So which of the two do we operate with – the politically palatable one, or the technically superior one?”

“It appears in this case political expediency triumphed over technical accuracy, despite the fact that the decline of the year-on-year inflation rate in the midst of rising consumer prices in February was counter-intuitive and made nonsense of itself”.

When pressed to explain how the consumer price index (CPI), which is used to measure inflation, can provide contradictory information for the same month, Dr. Thompson offered the following explanation: “The monthly measure of inflation captures contemporary price movements in adjacent months, such as January and February, and is therefore more reflective of what consumers are experiencing now – “Now, meaning the past month or two.”

According to Dr. Thompson, surveys from the Ghana Statistical Service [Core Welfare Indicators Questionnaire – 2003] and the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) [2005] both had more than 50 percent of Ghanaians saying that life was hard and getting harder.”

Here is the link to the story as published then.

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/artikel.php?ID=102848

We hear Dr. Thompson is now to head the National Development Planning Commission/Authority? That is the Institution where you get posted, to have no impact on economic development. He will mayhap share an office next to Dr. Grace Bediako after she was pushed out of the Ghana Statistical Service. Is there some irony here? They will be crafting the totally ignored Ghana Growth Strategy and Development Agenda.

There is something going on at Agricultural Development Bank (ADB). My grapevine whispers that Pegasus House has been offered to some unknown faces for a paltry $10million and other properties are clandestinely being palmed off internally even as I write this. The speculation is we have another “Fortiz/MBG” looming.

The new ADB home next to Cedi House is also contentious regarding financing and I sound this warning for citizens to be vigilant. Something is stinking like Agbogbloshie waiting for rubbish to be collected.

But we had a tremendous #Occupyghana/IMANI event on Friday. Prof. H. Kwesi Prempeh gave us much to think about and the Electoral Commission quintupled our panic level with non-committal delivery to the Supreme Court recommendations for reform.

After declining the invitation to attend the seminar, they pranked us at the last minute with a Principal Election Officer, Nana Kwaku Dodoo. The disappointment was so great we booed him off stage.

So prepare for more of such. The EC has no purposeful intention of fixing the integrity of the election process without coercion and even as we move to December 2016, you can see how it will favor the incumbent to keep the confusion in place.

Our “dɔkɔdɔkɔ” Parliament where all parliamentarians follow the lead without question is not ready for prime time faith keeping to its citizens, neither is the EC ready to do anything remotely close to correcting the problems so citizens can be assured that the voting outcome reflects our desires.

You can read Dr. Kwesi Prempeh’s views from this link. http://www.modernghana.com/news/566661/1/prof-h-kwasi-prempehs-speech-delivered-at-the-iman.html#. You might not agree with everything, but at least you get a chance to criticize and contribute to the debate.

As for our Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the less we say the better. They did not even show up for the event pitched in the citizen’s cause.

I have noted with quiet pleasure all the philanthropy from former Ambassador Eric Edusei. Twice this week his foundation has caught my eye with support to education and more. Dr. Edusei was one of the parties of E&O Group, who brought the Jubilee Field financing arrangements on board.

So I wondered what at all did Prof. Atta Mills do to warrant naming the new FPSO in his name? I suppose he turned the switch to commemorate the flow of first oil, after JAK and his team had done all the work? The Ga people call this “ami-yeli”.

But in this case I prefer the Akan proverb, “oyi rekeka na oyi rekeka, na won nyinaa ka bom a, egye fomm”. If we all play as an orchestra, we play in tune. The glory of oil discovery is not for the late president to take.

But maybe we are expecting too much from Parliamentarians, the EC, CHRAJ, Government and Institutions paid and rewarded from the public purse. They see no need to preempt our needs, even if constitution-bound.

Maybe we ask for too much even as we part with taxes we cannot afford. I believe good governance should not only be about following what is written, it has to be about doing what is right and beyond right. We wrote the 1992 constitution for Jerry Rawlings. Can we not sit down and write a new one for the future of this country?

And Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo won the NPP Super Delegates race with a clear majority of 80.7% (598 of the 741 cast). His closest competitor, Alan Kyeremanten came in with 59 votes. Now the battle is again “The Lord’s” as we strive for “A “never” Better Ghana”.

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

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