Business in Ghana

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Mad Bench Assassin. Critical News, 2nd August 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on August 8, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Na waaa oh, to be Assassin, mama oh! Sing to it if know the melody because it was ringing through my ears all last week and well into the weekend, I couldn’t believe that we can pass justice so swiftly in Ghana.

Say what you like, the world is flat. I was listening to the debate, enthralled by the persuasive arguments of thirteen and fourteen year-olds trying their word and logic skills, with a huge dollop of science in their arsenal, at confusing the normal order.

It has always been true that we who question the orthodoxy are never prophets in our homeland. Many have been burnt at the stake and others hanged and shot at firing squads.

But these kids were impressive. Took me back to the time when I used to have a vocabulary that only I knew how vast and where its boundaries lay, totally incoherent and bamboozling.

But isn’t it impressive that Judge Francis Obiri was able to arraign an untried person with no representing counsel and jail him for ten years in a morning? Woyome is still walking the streets after more that three years and we don’t even know if he has offered a payment plan till when.

But this clearly “mad” man according to his mother and friends intended to kill the President and be hailed the successor. It can’t be any simpler than that.

Before I get too deep into that side of things though, the week has been dark with dumsor. The Electricity Company of Ghana are clear in their understanding that they do not and cannot provide a timetable for load shedding in what is now becoming an acceptable process in our lives.

I am not sure if the people of this country have simply given up on delivery of electricity and water services and have resigned to the twelve light hours and twenty-four hour dark hours. We seem to be battered into submission and coerced into some weird thinking that if we allow enough time we will be served better in the end.

We actually cheer when the lights are turned on and meekly load a head pan or “kuffuor gallon” on the way to the nearest known water source within the community.

I am very miserable most of the time these days, a combination of no entertainment and stressful living conditions. And there are many like me, tired of the way things are, complaining all the time and shouting at politicians who think they are doing everything for our pleasure and we should be worshipping their humility

Whether this stage-off between doctors and politicians will make a cataclysmic change, is yet to be seen. Doctors are not the only ones not being paid; we have teachers, many civil and public servants waiting on the sides, negotiating and politely waiting for payroll to get to them.

This is probably why the Finance Minister can come into the public space and tell us he has managed to trim and reduce the government ghosts on payroll. By not paying people on time and paying only a quarter of what you have failed to pay for a year. Some persons on the government payroll were offered a three-month lump sum and forgo the balance. This is what we call prudent fiscal management!

It will come to rear its ugly lips a few years down the line when my children and all of you over 50’s have long retired and settled to wait for inevitable death.

But this from a young student protégé, who is one of many, reflecting on the economy woes and calling it as they see. Let me share “MONEY MAFIA”, by PD Orchill.

Ghana’s economy has had its fair share of challenges with the fall in value of the Ghana Cedi. even though a lot of austerity measures have been deployed to curb this menace,  the situation seems not to change substantially. Many have given commentary about this situation; but today I will discuss three (3) Common issues which when addressed will mitigate this situation.

The first is the Mafia by the wealthiest citizenry. Either because their wealth was ill acquired or for whichever reason, Ghanaians (politicians and affluent business men) save millions of dollars in Swiss accounts, one writer calls the Swiss Bank a Parasite feeding on the developing world.

The underlying issue here is that if we change our local currency to the dollar and save hundreds of millions of it in a foreign bank, that money will most likely not be invested in our economy so we have through that action starved many people, created negative jobs, whiles someone else use that money to build his or her country. As if this is not enough our politicians borrow monies from countries to tunes less than what they have in their Swiss account and even though our national debt keeps increasing, I doubt if the chunk of the loans we contract do not end up in Switzerland.

Secondly, these same mafia rich men, who have made enough money such that they can keep millions of Cedis and dollars in their homes for a long time without investing the money in anything, are another cause of our economic monetary woes. Money must be invested to benefit the masses; our ability to circulate the currency, make more wealth out of it, and feed hungry stomachs in the process is what gives a true meaning to riches. Our failure to do this will starve our economy of creative economic activity that will balance the quantum of imports we have.

The last item to consider for space and time is the huge balance of the trade deficit. Ghana as a country imports almost everything with hard currency, from luxury cars, petroleum products, rice, handkerchief, toothpick and many more. While we export cocoa, unprocessed gold, crude oil, pineapple and a few others.

Citizen Kofi is right when he says Ghana must visit our economic fundamentals again, a solid agricultural backbone must be meticulously created, then industry can fly on the wings of agric.  If we don’t fix these two issues, then we can borrow all the money in the US treasury and our country will still be where we are and our currency will keep falling.

In conclusion, our economic woes will be lessened if leaders, not only politicians will stop stealing money abroad, invest their money in our economy, and revisit our economic fundamentals. That’s the best way to build a robust economy for the benefit of many. God bless our homeland Ghana and make our Nation great and strong”.

Has he been listening well? I am associated with a lively group of these student leaders and I am very impressed that the noise we are making today is resonating in the halls of the universities and senior high schools. There might be some hope after all.

And we are in for another round of Ga Mantse confusion. Its called “Homowo Madness”, when we deliberately raise a rival king of the Ga State, destabilize the celebration of the festival and derail the whole hegemony of kingship in Ga Mashie.

A man, call him Charles Antwi, for the purpose of proper id, said he went to shoot the President in Church. Got there, “il Presidento” no dey. So he started fidgeting with his gun, drew the attention of the security who were there guarding other dignitaries, because “Presidento” had gone gallivanting where there is light. And had himself arrested in attempting to “assassinate” someone who was not even there on the bench.

So I wondered just as our wives did in one of those most celebrated plays in Ghana’s all struggling theatre industry, have “our judges gone mad?” on the bench? It has to be a valid question when sentencing is totally incomprehensible and seems totally out of sync with the offences we prosecute.

I will go listen to the international fisherman for Homowo maybe even join in the area cleanup. Least I can do is “telemo” some debris.

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

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