Business in Ghana

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Archive for November, 2014

Budget For A Kraal. Critical News, 30th November 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on November 30, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I lost my Uncle last Monday 24th November. He died of a cancer of the pancreas. I will remember him fondly for all the good time spent at Akosombo and the deep intellectual discussions late into the night during difficult formative years and much as I would have hoped for a longer association, his time on this earth was well spent.

I hope he will be remembered by all Ghanaians for his contribution to the development of the Akosombo enclave and his many spats with other developers as he pushed one agenda after the other in order that we grew an organization of well trained staff capable of managing even when he, as he then envisaged would move on and create other opportunities for those after him.

Uncle Louis was a fun-loving person, full of jokes, with the cheekiest smile you could ever wish for.

May his soul rest in peace.

I have to talk about the budget and where this country is heading. But there are so many issues crisscrossing my way I need to vent a little.

This Centaurides Ruby Angel girl just broke the record in UK statutes this week. I was most fascinated when I heard that the customs law in the UK does not have a statutorily determined term time for class A drugs above 5Kg. That limit attracts a sentence of ten years. Above that, it is left to the discretion of the law.

So Ruby put us in the history of hard drugs, but not without help. She herded us into an arena, where we read only of the intrigue, flights of imagination, drug barons with high political influence, where most of us would not even toe-dip our big African foot. Read the rest of this entry »

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Angels, Wheel Spanners and a Budget. Critical News, 23rd November 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on November 23, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I was on my way to a meeting on Wednesday, round about 5pm. Traffic was heavy and I was running late. I needed to speed up, but there was a funny clunking noise every time I stepped on the brakes. It got louder as I eased back and in panic I called a rescue mechanic for help.

I listened with horror and dread as the noise grew louder, concerned about the cost of a major brake overhaul on a Mercedes in this crisis; I broke in sweat even with the air condition blowing.

Suddenly without any sympathy for my safety, my front left wheel flew off, traveling opposite to my steering, heading for the huge gutter to my left. The front of the car ditched and I heard the grating of the brake discs on the tarred road, me struggling to hold on to the steering wheel and remembering some rudimentary driving tactics, “don’t step on the brakes!”

As the car ground to a halt, I watched helplessly, the tire carrying its momentum on its own selfish, mindless way, finally lodged under a culvert far away. Lookers-on were more aghast than me as I gently stepped out of the car to assess the damage.

There was only one bolt remaining on the tire and it was shorn off the wheel. I could see the wrenched bolt end in the socket and none of the other four were any place around.

It suddenly hit me that someone had tampered with the car. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kpa Kpa Kpa Economics. Critical News, 16th November 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on November 17, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Have you ever had to drive through dark night? Night so dark you think someone has deliberately swapped the streetlights for dark fluorescent tubes and it is a mean darkness, engulfing you in some kind of horror movie?

That was Thursday night, driving from McCarthy Hill to a meeting at the Golden Tulip. The street lights, traffic lights, side lights and all other manner of lighting that could possibly help to navigate the way to the hotel and back, simply closed their beams and clothed the car in a dark eerie morass, only the occasional stroller caught the head beams of the car.

At some point I was sure I was lost and considered asking directions to a route I have followed hundreds of times in this short life. And that is what it felt like, that I was driving towards life’s end. Until I got past Kaneshie where there was some street lighting and pedestrians.

This is what ECG and its twin purveyors of “dark vada” have prepped for us. It is not good enough that we do not know when and if power will be available to work, now we are blessed with special night-light.

Not even the interest rates corridor could explain what we are going through, because I listened to the Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Kofi Wampah explaining once again why he had to increase the Central Bank policy rate two percentage points to 21% in order to hold down inflation in an economy where there is very little money circulating, costs are rising every month, Government is borrowing all the money and banks are complaining and yet reporting above-average profits. Read the rest of this entry »

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Temptations To Sin. Critical News, 9th November 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on November 9, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

As if to assure us they are on top of their game, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) switched off the lights at Kumasi Polytechnic for an outstanding bill of ghc3million. The Polytechnic has not been able to pay up since the beginning of the year.

But in a brave rebut, Rector Nicholas Nuamah, simply points fingers at Government and says, “it is not our bill”. And he is right. Government owes this bill as it does many others, and over the months, it has become a nauseating refrain to hear about the minor challenges we face in managing this economy.

What this tells us is ECG doesn’t even know who are its customers.

Same way we don’t know who should be sworn in or not as president. Prof. Kweku Asare from out of the USA was up in arms because Parliament, the Speaker and the Chief Justice seemed to have triggered a constitutional breach while the President was out of Ghana.

The Speaker refused to accept a swearing in as demanded by the constitution and the Supreme Court, and this created a bit of a storm. I don’t quite understand why the big fuss on the issue. After all why would the Speaker want to accept the post only to be blamed for all that has gone wrong in the country? I can see the wisdom in his decision, because if he accepted, he would have to explain everything to the President when he gets back from his global junketing.

Looks like a set up if you ask me, because Vice Prez Amissah Arthur is also on a two-week trip to India at the same time. I hear he got a one-way ticket. Just joking, he will be back soon. But it looks like a perfect setup for the Speaker to fall into the trap and be tempted to fix some things before they both get back. Read the rest of this entry »

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World Bank to mobilize new financing to improve mobility along select transport corridors vital for economic growth

Posted by Business in Ghana on November 6, 2014

 WASHINGTON, November 4, 2014 The World Banks Board of Executive Directors today approved US$25 million in new financing from the International Development Association (IDA)* to support the Government of Ghanas effort to improve the mobility of goods and passengers on selected roads through reduction in travel time, in vehicle operating costs and enhanced road safety awareness.

 Ghana has done very well to improve its transportation sector in the short and medium term and the government is now focusing its efforts on the quantity and quality of the road infrastructure, said Yusupha Crookes, the World Banks Country Director for Ghana. We are excited to support the Governments strategy for an efficient and sustainable transport system. The project will also indirectly help to ensure competitiveness, reduce vulnerability, and improve governance in the sector.

 The new financing will support the ongoing Ghana Transport Sector Project which has made significant achievements. It has helped reduce the fatality rate per 10,000 vehicles by 17.9; increased the rural population to 66% who are now within 2 kilometers of an all-season classified; and increased the number of road networks in good and fair condition to 57%. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pension Lotto Numbers. Critical News, 2nd November 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on November 2, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

My lights stayed on for two weeks. Productivity soared for the period and I caught up with so many deliverables and deadlines I walked to and from the office, chest puffed with confidence, a grin on my face, that I could make promises and not excuses to clients with the proverbial “dumsor”. I was in work heaven and the angels of kilowatts were singing a tune I liked.

Not even in my youthful exuberant days did I so relish the perfection of deliverable success. I was on the phone boasting to clients and bringing dates forward with confidence.

I have no plans to buy a generator because the triangle of incompetents at ECG, VRA and GRIDCO cannot do a simple thing like keeping energy consistent after so many years and so much price hike.

I steadfastly hold on to the belief that one day ………!

Then they “dumm-ed” the power. On Saturday when I was on my way to Citifm to discuss the big Issues of the week, they flipped the switch. After I had planned a speech of praise, they sneaked to the transformer and triggered a dumsor-message through the circuits, traveling so fast, I did not see it coming.

In the middle of printing vital research about the pensions matter, my printer stopped with a piece of paper between its teeth, swore a huge protest and went silent.

Thus ended my energy dawn. I had tasted working in a power flowing state, competing to the best of my intellect against other professionals whose advantage is not that they know more, but because they have consistency in the tools needed to deliver well researched reports and projects on time. Read the rest of this entry »

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