Business in Ghana

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Truth and Honesty. Critical News, 26th April 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 26, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Last week the IMF released the program it has crafted between them and Ghana to bring policy credibility to Government’s Home Grown solutions. The only sound bite the media heard was the paragraph that spoke about job losses and freezing wages as a means to frontload the fiscal adjustments to achieve policy objectives.

I read it all with a huge smidgen of doubt.

Ghanaians know as we do, that this government is not going to do any of what it has signed to. The IMF knows that what it has written in the program notes to justify the figures to support our efforts is not true. And honestly, neither this government nor the IMF appreciates what problems we want solved in this economy.

If I may offer three steps, which if done will solve our issues immediately. First-first, fix the “dumsor”; find enough money to pay VRA, ECG, GRIDCO and other service providers what they are owed. No business runs on empty cash tanks. Second, fix the “dumsor”; find enough money to buy emergency power plants, because IT IS AN EMERGENCY! Then finally, fix the “dumsor”; provide enough incentives to make alternative energy solutions immediately attractive to domestic users. Then the “dumsor” will be gone and we will listen to other things.

This trinity points to one thing. Fix the “dumsor”.

I don’t know what this IMF long-winded program is all about and meant to solve. We need light and water first, then we think and worry about Bank of Ghana overdrawn balances and land boundary disputes.

But Attorney General Marietta Brew Oppong already decided the maritime dispute between Ghana and Ivory Coast in September 2014. She made the front-page news of The Ghanaian Times, flanked by the formerly important Energy Minister, Armah Kofi Buah and the equally unimportant Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osa Mills.

If they both knew what they were doing we wouldn’t have “dumsor” and “galamsey”.

The story is right here. http://www.ghanaiantimes.com.gh/11465/. To quote the A-G, “Looking at the demarcation between the two countries and for that matter the location of the oil deposit, it is clear that the area in question belongs to Ghana”.

Now we hear different, and we have a small/BIG issue to manage. The possibility that we cannot further develop the TEN fields and its impact on our future and ALL THE MONEY we have borrowed and are planning to borrow on the back of the bedrock of medium to long term oil sustainability.

What are you going to do Team IMF? We just signed a program with a lot of confidence that the future will be secure on the back of substantial oil revenues.

Someone is trying to sell ADB Bank. Formerly, Agriculture Development Bank that has lost its way to becoming another “no particular focus” bank, MD Stephen Kpordzi has moved the new bank headquarters opposite the National Theater and glassed the whole corner as if we are living in some winter land.

Of course this means we will have to find more power to cool the whole place down from the heat of the noonday sun, direct through the glass.

The big question though is, what is happening to the old head office? The stories are it has been sold to a prominent Traditional Chief, one with deep enough pockets and connections to make it sweet for government cronies. The other story is it has gone to First Rand Bank of South Africa, who is looking for a place to house Xenophobes in the Central Business District of Accra.

I don’t have any proof of either story, so I am just spreading the gossip. Sometimes gossip sweet. Like I heard one the other day about Mz. ….. nah! I might be sued like Sam George, who has cowered in the shadows, maybe trying to settle his ghc100million suit with former Databank Chief Ken Ofori-Atta out of court. Just thinking aloud.

Our President says he cannot fight the corruption thing on his own; he needs the help of all Ghanaians. Well, next week, a group of Ghanaians calling themselves OccupyGhana will offer the first step on the journey to solving this problem.

It will not be our first offer to government. What has not been said enough in the media is that OccupyGhana has agreed with the Auditor general to set up a Joint Working Group to commence the Disallowance and Surcharge of “stealers” of our monies. This is a great step forward and we are pleased that this will start a long-lasting solution to ensure that State assets are kept in the safe.

Now listen to Deputy Interior Minister Mr James Agalga on two positions. The matter of the NUGS threatening to strike against being saddled with utility bills, and his position on “SOLI”.

A journalist makes a decision to attend an event because it might be newsworthy. After the event the host decides to “help” out with travel and transport costs. There is a clear difference between this and writing a PR piece for pay. There is also a clear difference between this reward and being offered a sum of money impliedly to bias your story to favor your host.

Some journalists have even been known to take from both sides in a fight and sway their recant to the highest bidder. This is dishonesty and an extreme form of “soli”.

But the most despicable form of “soli” is when you are tactfully offered money to cover the cost of “travel and transport” to purposefully sway your views or write in support of government or a political argument.

It does not cost ghc1,000 or even ghc500 to fuel a car, take a taxi, bus or tro-tro to an event in Accra; Even if you ask the taxi to wait for two hours, it will not cost that much.

When Julius Debrah, the President’s Chief of Staff, used tax-payer money to attempt to bribe journalists in the country and get them to accept this favor, especially when clearly, the amount was far in excess of the description “T&T”, it is filthy and despicable and an asinine attempt to undermine our democracy.

Mr. James Agalga gives up his claim to “honorable” on the same issue when he said “no editor worth his salt would be compromised with such an amount”. So envelopes were handed out. The Chief of Staff attempted the bribe and I see no reason why we should stay such a person in government. It is dishonest and we can’t trust such persons to manage our purse.

The National Union Of Ghana students have sounded the closing bell. If Government imposes the utility bills on them, they will hit the streets. Agalga calls this “unfortunate” by student leaders. Honestly?

But here is what we should appreciate about the IMF program. It is not an imposition by the IMF; it is a “recipe of dishonesty” our Government crafted and went to the IMF to help make credible because they have lost credibility with the people, cannot be trusted and have not shown much honesty in dealing with the governed.

The NDC Government has signed off on the program, has agreed to implement it as written and shouild fulfill all its obligations as signatured. This is not the time you start doing a circuit, talking about how job losses are not going to start until after 2016 – when you hope to be back in power and can start a whole new litany of dishonesty, undermining your own program.

So Emmanuel ‘Game Boy’ Tagoe outclassed Filipino Joebert Delos Reyes at the Accra Sports Stadium on Friday night. Tagoe floored Reyes three times in round four. I didn’t get a chance to shake hands with Baby Jet. Too many bodyguards and hangers-on. And the Dagombas and Hausas fought in Agbogbloshie over a bit of two-year old faeces.

Togo has voted and is counting; Blue Skies, fruit drinks company have announced they might lay off 1,000 workers in a country where we can grow just about any fruit you can think off; and Theodosah Okoh died, but not before she prevented Mayor Oko Vanderpuye from stealing her rights to the National Hockey Stadium. May she rest in peace, we have the flag to remember her.

And I loved this photo of the week from Joyfm. Times are hard here.

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

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