Business in Ghana

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In Charge of Free Filth. Critical News, 7th August 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 7, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Our President joined his close buddy. They must be really close because he can’t find enough reason to sack Dr. Oko Vanderpuye even after he has supervised enough filth in the city to cause a mini cholera epidemic.

The alarming story, some say it was simply for publicity, was very widely made known and put me on edge throughout the week.

Why would a supervisor of wanton filth and environmental carelessness, be made a hero by his supervisor, the person who appointed him to clean up Accra and ensure that we live in a city where we can go outside and make some noise about how we have lived up to the millennium challenges of the 21st century, be retained after all this while?

Read the story from this link, http://www.citifmonline.com/2014/09/01/president-mahama-joins-odododiodoo-to-clean-up/ but make no mistake, our President went into the trenches to dig out the gutter as a demonstration of his competence to clean drains at ghc680/day. It works out at ghc85/hour based on a 25 working day month and 8 hours a day of continuous labor.

You can engage day labourers in Accra for between ghc30 to 40 cedis a day.

I am gob smacked. The way to encourage the Accra Mayor is to give him the confidence that he is doing a great job by digging out his trash-filled gutters?

I live in the Ga South Municipality and President Mahama should come visit us at the foothills of McCarthy Hill. The last time I saw him here, he came to apologise for the incomplete N1 highway. If you want to see how to gather algae and moss in a gutter, misalign kiosks on the roadsides, litter garbage all over the corners and encourage kiosks and light industry in residential zoned places, come and visit.

The haphazard and uncoordinated planning and lack of facilities for economic activity is glaring and he will not need to dig any gutter to get enough sound bites for the media blitz.

Fortunately, the Mallam market is still within AMA and so Mr. Jerry Thompson, our MCE cannot be blamed for the stench that travels between the market to Sakaman and Busia junction to the east and makes a “U” turn to Awsohie.

In the morning, soon as the sun shows its face from the east, Sakaman becomes a different expression of nose-salute, challenging the Korle, which the Ga State finds very upsetting because throughout Homowo they showcased their version of stench to citizens, which their Mayor promised to “Zoom Lion-dredge” ever since he came to head the Assembly, how many years now? I forget. Nearly six years?

When the easterly wind shifts in the late afternoon and evening as you drive up the George Bush Highway, pray you have air-conditioned windows to roll up. And these days, because of the way the “ecomini” is, we are all conserving fuel, except for the large government V8’s rushing through traffic to some meeting, you know not. To discuss some economic solutions we know not and to announce some project completion we know not.

And to match presidential effort, Tamale also organized a cleanup program to contain the cholera mini-epidemic. As at now, Ebola has shied away, but we are taking no chances. This is a bad time to be Guinean, Liberian or to come from Sierra Leone.

Now we are talking about some Conti contract, no detail but it will be the answer to the whole flooding and environmental solution in Accra. And this is Accra, ooo!. Wither Somanya and Ketase?

Fans wanted to boycott the Black Stars v Uganda Cranes match. Government said no, we will give you free Baba Yara entrance to go and watch the Stars practice how to lose. Rather than let market sentiment push the gate proceeds, we impoverished Baba Yara. End of the day, we discounted the price, fans still watched on TV and those who showed up to cheer the Cranes were whipped, military style. Social Democracy.

But fear not, the “Better Ghana” IMF angels are on the way to solve the economic crisis. In a week or so they will be here with economic pickaxes and macro indicator trowels, and Government’s “home grown”, which they have not implemented successfully will be resolved by the policy-credibility specialists.

Many fear that there will be retrenchment and lay-offs within the public and civil service and as the word goes round, the socialists are warning of dire consequences should this happen. Gentlemen, please read the text. Government itself has already frozen employment and is charting a path to trim its wage bill.

It is not the IMF’s role to tell us what to do, theirs is to support what we want to do and help move the process forward with their expertise and accumulated knowledge.

World Economic Forum rankings for Ghana went up from 114 to 111. A good indicator if you read it that way, but the scorecard is for 2013 and before Finance Minister Seth Terkper read his half-year 2014 projections and confessed deterioration.

Oh, lest I forget, we have a budget reading in a couple months. I wondered why our finance ministry has been so quiet recently; I hope they are putting together something we can crow about in the future. Maybe this time we can understand what they proffer.

I have no hope with the history, the indicators and fiscal status was bad at the mid-term stage, I have no hope that we will turn things around within four months. As always, if it happens, the numbers are massaged. But I am not a “Bawumia” and my statement will not flush Dr. Omane Boamah out to provide poor arithmetic to justify the steroidal cedi depreciation.

The cedi tested positive for “depreciatamine” after the “wampah” regulations in February and we are waiting for the after-June B test. Chances are the Governor is going no place, despite much speculation. But removing him is not a solution. The economy is lopsided.

The whole case of our economy turnaround has to be addressed. Our global comparative advantage is in agriculture raw produce. In that market, we are in the same fight with all ECOWAS and Asia Pacific, including the West Indies. Other than batakari, kente, gold and cocoa, we are not in a position to put up serious competition in any market. Especially not oil and gas.

How we re-align and refocus with smart technology is the big challenge. In that competitive space, we can all be just as good internationally. Except, we have dumsor and we have MTN, GLO, AIRTEL, VODAFONE, TIGO and EXPRESSO. Terrible services in a most needed competitive arena.

But the NPP made the news, Nana Addo waxing his lead from the delegate’s conference, smelling of “koko and kose” as Alan and his team faced the dictatorship of the Tamale Region Chair wanting to “ex-communicate” a few followers who had defied the deities after swearing on Korans and Bibles to vote Alan down.

Such is politicking in Ghana. Truth is, all the parties prey on the superstitious illiterate to extract easy votes while we compete and analyse on issue-based patterns in urban cities.

Alhaji was only telling it truthfully as they do in the poorly monitored areas. Electoral reforms on the table are just skin-top fabric as long as our literacy aptitude competes with development infrastructure for fiscal space.

But solutions are on the way. By December it will be over. Dumsor that has reared its head again will be gone by the end of the year. Gas will be flowing, VRA will have the needed support from new arrangements it has put in place to prop up independent power production and Bishop Duncan Williams will fill the Volta lake before he communes with the Lord.

As for Mensa Otabil, he is still only a Pastor despite all my counsel. His practical astuteness does not carry the weight of mysticism.

In our Ghana, you have to mystify and mesmerize if you want us to believe the impossible. Free schools, free uniforms, free text books, free feeding, free sanitary pads, free shoes, free pre-mix, free LEAP, free football attendance and now free garbage bags.

Soon you can carry your free “foreign-produced” garbage bags to AMA, where Oko Vanderpuye will show you how you can get free filth. It appears overnight, sitting there waiting to bring “cholera-bolic” misery to our mortuaries.

Yet things are looking up. Mr. Kwame Pianim has educated me that some of us are singularly responsible for the lack of economic progress because we do not say anything positive. So talk it up. Black goats can be white cows and the fundamentals of the economy are sound. Amanfuo, eb3 y3 yie.

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

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