Business in Ghana

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Preventable Diseases. Critical News, 26th October 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on October 26, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I watched, parked at a corner at one of Adabraka’s side roads, waiting for a noisy taxi driver who had been honking behind me for the last kilometer, rushing off to where, only he knew. I am being very cautious on the roads these days. All I seem to do is attract the ire of some policeman, despite cheekily suggesting to my arrestors that I would rather be prosecuted by one of the more attractive traffic policewomen.

If you not have noticed them, I have. We have a lot of authoritative policewomen minding the busy intersections these days. They are geared well and a no nonsense attitude makes them even more interesting to the male dominated society in Ghana.

I am waiting for lights to change. In four police stations this coming week, arrested for talking on my phone, jumping a red light, speeding on the way to Winneba and not carrying my license, which I unsuccessfully explained had been taken away from me on the Legon road a few weeks ago.

Conspiratorially a few friends suggested that it could be coordinated, but I refute that totally.

Anyway, the taxi is crowding me and still honking for me to jump the lights. He believes they are not working. I turn the radio up louder, drown the honking and chill.

In frustration he overtakes to move ahead. There is an okada speeding through the side also honking his horn for his claimed middle of the road. Taxi clips him and sends the rider off the bike, into an illegally positioned kiosk on the pavement. The damage is catastrophic. The rider’s leg is broken, his bike runs into the major road, skids and runs under a Toyota Prado, dragging it a few meters before grinding to a halt in the back of a small Tico taxi. The collateral damage is another story.

Pandemonium. People rush to rescue the rider; driver is dragged out of the taxi and for a few minutes someone is starting a lynching.

At that point, the lights change to green; but we are now all involved in this accident and forcing the taxi driver to carry the victim to Korle Bu.

Later, I wondered if I had a blame part in this accident and what could I have done to prevent it. Could I have anticipated something like this and maybe, maybe, .. jumped the light from the honking pressure? I answered no, and let my conscience rest.

And the NPP politics continued with an expected victory for Nana Addo over Alan Kyeremanten and Addae Nimo. I found it very difficult to reconcile the 94% winning margin with what I thought would be at least same as or even better for especially Alan in the previous round. Anyway, Alan lost.

Now Nana Addo has announced Mahamoudu Bawumia as his running mate in what is maybe a run off from 2012, if John Mahama runs with Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur. Somehow, I think Paa Kwesi will not be the candidate. Since he combed the streets of Accra with Mayor Oko Vanderpuye, looking for gutters to clean and houses to demolish, I kind of considered that his last big political statement.

How much of an asset does that make him? JDM, over to you.

I think Government has stolen the Tier 2 pension money from worker’s contributions. Based on simple logic. If you have the money in an account at the Bank of Ghana, why not instruct the BoG to release the balance to the Unions? Checking a bank balance is not complicated. We do it everyday.

Telling workers they are not capable of managing their money and Government is best placed to do so, is blatant disrespect and could be illegal. The Pension Regulatory Act is very precise in how Tier 2 contributions should be managed, so taking the Unions to court for striking, then insulting them, simply smacks of a group that is hiding something. Show them the Money if it is safe.

I particularly liked IMANI’s release on this issue in 2013 and it needs a very good look whether First Banc is somehow involved, also if it resurrects the matter of the Fortiz acquisition of Merchant Bank.

You don’t need to go too far to get an idea of how unrealistic or how devastating the “promising” disease, once the President mounts a podium. In the past few months alone;

Mahama Promises Nigeria Power, Mahama Promises Sustainable Funding for Climate Change, Mahama promises efficient power by 2020, Mahama promises to raise funds for troubled Guinea Bissau, President Mahama promises food security, President Mahama promises to support agencies against drugs, Mahama promises ‘unprecedented’ prosperity in Ghana, President Mahama Promises To Execute Mandate, Mahama Promises Two Gold Refineries, Mahama Promises Government Will Deal With Unemployment.

But this one from January 2014 freaked me out totally.

Mahama promises huge infrastructural development in 2014.

“The government will embark on massive infrastructural development this year, President John Dramani Mahama has announced. He mentioned railway line network, airport, ports, schools, health centres, housing and roads as some of the areas to witness significant expansion this year”.

Well, we are at the tail end of 2014. He has some miracles to perform and should maybe turn to TB and a few others, because the miracles in Ghana are not coming through.

To top it all is the interesting pronouncement from the Presidential debates in 2012 to end the dumsor by mid-November 2012.

His competition in the 2016 race, Nana Addo says the promises are unrealistic. But wouldn’t it just be simpler if you don’t make the promises you can’t keep?

Anyway, here is one he should be able to do. To remove a CHRAJ boss, you forward the petitions sent to you to the Chief Justice’s office. Someone confirms that the petition has been forwarded, but we need to confirm with the CJ that this is the case, because credibility and trust have become major issues for Government.

On 24th October, Fitch rating Agency rated Ghana down to B minus, which surprisingly was accepted by Finance Minister Seth Terkper as a proper reflection of the state if affairs today, but he can see a claw back in the strength of the medium term prospects.

A lot of this pressure will be exerted over the next two years if crude oil prices continue to fall. Fitch is predicting pricing pressure on the Naira and Ghana has to be careful that despite increased oil and gas discoveries, prices could tumble as the USA ramps up its shale resources. Price of crude is below $90 a barrel.

Looking through the 2012 Auditor General’s reports particularly at the National Service Secretariat, I picked out some of the findings, which I am convinced had we acted swiftly, could have trapped all the wahala from the recent fraud. The State Auditor reports specifically;

“Management failed to refund to chest a total amount of GH¢49,679,748.05 representing excess funds released for payment of personnel allowances and overpayment of allowances recovered contrary to Regulation 45 of the Financial Administration Regulations ( FAR) 2004 (L.I 1802).”

“We did not sight the payment vouchers for 122 payments totaling GH¢1,314,173.01. Such act undermines controls provided for in disbursement of funds.”

“Forty-one payment vouchers totaling GH¢218,074.78 were not properly acquitted with adequate and appropriate documentations. The occurrence was due to the Accountant’s failure to ensure that payment vouchers were supported with the relevant documents for authentication.”

At #OccupyGhana we served notice to do something about this canker. Our lying, over-promising, over-estimating our capacity, never meeting project deadlines, over compromising, not following regulations, taking what belongs to the people because we think it belongs to us since we cannot be arrested and prosecuted has to be arrested.

And after all is said and done, I wonder whether in an attempt to become Government, our politics is so screwed to recklessness, we take irresponsible chances, such as wasting cash, over-preaching false achievements only to find that we committed the most heinous of anticipation and have maimed ourselves and twenty-seven million other persons, struggling for a financial bail out to try and resurrect what need not be fixed, because it could be prevented?

Just plain stealing. Thievery.

I will not accept the collective responsibility idea that all Ghanaians have a hand in this economic mismanagement. The NDC government created it without thinking through the remedies post elections; but now we are all in trouble from preventable “diseases”. So AFCON 2015? Forget it.

Ghana, Aha a ye din papa. Alius atrox week advenio. Another terrible week to come!

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