Business in Ghana

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Because I Want To Believe. Critical News, 14th December 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on December 14, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

The Auditor General Peter Quartey finally gave OccupyGhana his reply to our questions regarding his authority to disallow and/or surcharge public expenditure in the country as and when he detects it. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, we disagree with his minimalist interpretation of his authority and we intend a formal response to clarify our understanding of his duties to Ghanaians.

In the likely event that we do not find common ground, we will see him before the Supreme Court Justices.

But this week our President announced at the National Anti Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) meeting, all the great things we will be doing to dribble out the corruption bug. He also mentioned specifically some 300 people he had on remand on various corruption and related matters.

You see all that he has achieved? So we all jumped into the sortie. Who are these seasoned criminals amongst us? Can they be seen? Please publish the list so we make sure our names are not included. But alas, it has not happened. I would have thought if there was a list, getting it to the media would be a matter of “halt the press, the Criminal names are coming oooo!!”

Same way we have no clue about all the super contracts Government is undertaking despite calls for all the projects to be identified (as a matter of transparency) with amounts allocated and stages of completion, so also this list will NEVER be seen until Green Book time in 2016.

By the way have you had a chance to read the National anti-corruption plan? Crafted in December 2011, there are some juicy parts that should make you really salivate. Plenty money was budgeted for the purpose, but the “challenges” have made it impossible to stem the raging tide of weekly corruption.

Follow the link. http://www.chrajghana.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/nacap.pdf.

Nana Addo’s NPP blast about the Kasoa interchange costs created a good political storm, but blipped in front of the NDC crowd. He also is a dreamer like me, expecting that his advice to JDM to look at the costs, have them redone, redone and redone again will be heeded. Good call, but it has already gone to the favorite Brazil builders, Quiroz something, now working the Kwame Nkrumah interchange and much more yet to be revealed.

I bet you anything if you ask any Ghanaian on the street who these persons disrupting the soul of Kwame’s central monument of achievement; his prized Ring Road and water fountain (don’t mind the fact that most of them have never seen it working), they can’t tell. Don’t even know what this interchange will look like after 2016.

But do you realize some foreigners fixed the fountain just before we started the development? It just struck me we need to look at how come? I smell another “corrup-rat”.

What our Government must understand is, we can’t afford to go backwards from where we have arrived. Our financial world is intertwined with so much in Europe, USA, Britain, UK and Asia. We are wired into mortgages, medical support, travel and construction, not counting medical costs and spares; the business Ghanaian cannot afford to step away and look askance. Even the plantain sellers up their price when there is a run on the cedi.

“Haven’t you heard it? “Daa enyɛ mi oooo!”. You ask yourself, are we importing charcoal as well these days? Because we bring plantain from Cote D”Ivoire.

So I have been thinking and I want to believe we can have a center of excellence in herbal medicine in this country. I want to believe that we can originate pharmacopeias of all our herbs, spices, trees, potent roots and fruits we know about but cannot prove scientifically that we have sources Africa can proudly produce and control without the white person coming to tell us how to do it.

Ghana is not a huge population. But we can have brilliance in intellect and simply doing.

In West Africa, why can’t we become the go-to country when it comes to herbal medicine? Why can’t we have science centers in each region where the herbs and spices specific to the region are tapped, developed and substituted for the huge costs of imported medicines, which stream in every day?

Why shouldn’t we develop treatment with herbs, our own standards and medial guidelines to manage the specific illnesses that plague us here in Ghana and Africa?

Why is malaria still a killer in Ghana? Why do we still battle cholera, ebola, oncho etc.? We have the capacity; and the costs to achieving something like this are not a lot.

Ten million cedis to each region for a fully capacitated herbal research center is not beyond reach. We blew more than that with the GYEEDA crap over the last seven years and we are still talking about bringing that nonsense into Parliament to legitimize corruption.

I want to believe that Ghana can become a center for education in ECOWAS. I want to believe that we can set up home-developed education research programs, intertwining local language learning centers to enhance the use of our own language, so we can run parallel to English and my grand children can grow up proudly reading and writing their own as well as an international dialogue, switching perfectly between local idioms and proverbs just as easily as they can in English, French, German and Spanish.

Not only that, I would like to see other countries flocking to Ghana to pick up best teaching and learning practices, not politics, just good quality education, where Ghana would lead all other West African countries with excellence in teaching and training.

I want to believe that we can have teacher training colleges unsurpassed in the region, where nationals will find home for blossoming their skills and knowledge and travel out to spread the skills and bring back value-added schemes to enhance our programs and package these in a unique Ghanaian flavor second to none in West Africa.

Why can’t we do this? What will be more rewarding than to press ahead with world-shattering concepts?

Instead of thinking out of the box, we are stuck trying to compete with each other on who can best define free education. And this is only the definition. We are not yet at implementation.

I want to believe that despite all the lack of resources, these things are not out of reach and we can fund them without too much pain.

Do I have a say whether I prefer to allocate 1% of GDP to centers of excellence in key sectors, understandably the better use of funds, than buying 4×4 land cruisers and building houses for District Chief Executives?

I don’t want to ever see another GYEEDA module. I want to believe that Parliament will debate this issue and recognize that we have existing institutions that can perform better if properly resourced.

Funding COTVET and other training institutions and prepping them as certified centers of excellence for artisans is a must. Masons, fitters, carpenters, electricians, skilled in their work, with enough to give contractors and buyers the assurance that buildings will not collapse because they will not compromise their professionalism to corrupt persons, whose duty of care does not go beyond their noses.

I have no place in my center of excellence for pothole filling.

What is wrong with doing things this way? What would be better and more fulfilling than knowing that we, in Ghana, are the best in the sub-region when it comes to professional skills and management?

A Country of Excellence. Better than insults from Robert Mugabe, surely!

But because I am not the leader of this government and because I cannot effect change but only monitor change, I want to believe that the persons at the helm of the development and politics of our country realize that there is a whole group of people who believe more in the evolution of this country, past an under-developed state to something akin to a decent place to spend the rest of their lives.

I would like to see it change and I want to believe it is possible. But I hesitate to dream too loud, because I “conf”.

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

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