Business in Ghana

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The Rains Came Down, and. Critical News, 11th October 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on October 11, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

This week, it rained. Two days of not what you would call relentless downpour, but it rained. I say for a country that is in the tropical zone, it was normal rain for two days.

But as if to test the drains and the waterways that E&P has fixed, and as if to give us a chance to expose more corruption, the rains came down and the floods went up; the rains came down and the floods went up, and the storm drains came tumbling down.

If you remember that well-aged nursery rhyme you can hum the words and understand how much these little childhood songs were meant to shape our world and remind us every time of the simple things we must do in life. A stitch in time saves nine? Rain rain go away? They are worded for a reason; reasons we have washed under waterways because we don’t see the wisdom in them any more.

Many advisory dance tunes, relevant in today’s Ghana, will be made political in a few months as we skate unwillingly to another euphoric December, when we should be lamenting our popularity contest through an electoral register with registrants from the ECOWAS fraternity.

Nkrumah Circle as usual, was flooded to the hilt together with all the flood prone areas, and this wasn’t a major storm. I was caught in it for an hour between The Times junction and Nkrumah circle. When I arrived at the small bridge over the Odaw River, it was rising and starting to rapid. Even as I longed for a dinghy to float to the confluence of the Korle Lagoon, the stench that told me “cholera” reined in my adventurism and stopped me numb in my car seat.

The Korle end was clogged and beginning to irrigate a wetland paddy zone for rice growers in the now extinct Sodom and Gomorrah, and I wondered if we had finished demolishing the lands there, and if we had any plans to redevelop that area. Also wondered if that parcel of land had been awarded to Engineers and Planners to do any more additional free services to the government.

The day after, I read an article in the Daily Guide that Mayor Vanderpuye had arrived just a few hours after I left the zone, to observe “the rising of the waters”. I trust he remembered the victims of the last flood and can see the need to sit up and clean out before we kill more people out of negligence. Ah, I forget myself. His attention is on his candidature for Member of Parliament. All those who are interested, his position becomes vacant if he wins the nomination. So I shout me, me me, but not by appointment, only by election!

So the rains came down and the floods went up; the rains came down and the floods went up, and Seth Terkper came to congratulate himself for having negotiated a fifteen-year Eurobond loan at 10.75%. His claim to our fame, when he asked all Ghanaians to give ourselves a pat on the back, was that we have become the first African country to have successfully raised this bar for the repayment terms of borrowing on the open bond market.

I ask the question; where is all the previous money he borrowed and whither the use of such funds? He has raised a few several $1billion parcels and every time he hits the road, he claims the purpose is to retire existing debt, shore up the depreciating cedi and build the infrastructure fund.

These measures are meant to restore our debt position and enable us to wean ourselves off debt. But we are still borrowing and the finance ministry seems bent on scraping its way out of debt, something I keep harping on, as an impossible feat. I know I am not smart enough to fix all the problems, but this that we are doing just does not show that Seth Terkper is clear on how to fix the below par economy.

We have borrowed another one billion dollars to pay off domestic debt at 25% because that interest rate is now too high. But it is this very government that issues the ghc900million in Tbills every week, to raise cash to meet its obligations. This Government by its own economic strategy and policies, trades treasury bills between 25% and 26% on the 91-day TBill.

So what we are saying is, we issue debt instruments at very desperate rates and the solution is to borrow foreign money to pay off this debt because it is too expensive. There is some illogic here I can’t explain, so you go figure.

In my world, the more sensible dirt road would be to progressively reduce my debt dependency and work towards reducing the borrowing rate of the Tbill so I don’t have to pay such ridiculous interest rates, which I myself have imposed on myself.

I issue the Tbills. If I weren’t so desperate, I could use less cash and reject any pressure to pay the lender’s leveraged rate. But I have driven my back into the mud wall and my choices are totally eliminated. Now I expect Ghanaians to congratulate me for making them poorer. “The Terkper economic fundamentals are sound”.

When the NPP Government lost the election in 2008, the economic situation wasn’t the best but it certainly wasn’t this bad. From where we are today, I can only see fog and smog. No end in the tunnel.

And the rains came down and the floods went up; the rains came down and the floods went up and our beloved Ghana went HIPC again. In the twenty-first century, we borrow more money than we can afford and our position is so precarious that we have yet again been classified HIPC. And it was an NDC Government that created the conditions for HIPC in the previous case. Could be history will repeat itself and an NPP Government will have to come to the rescue again.

Yet the rains came down and the floods went up; the rains came down and the floods went up and justices of court were sent packing. Anas Aremeyaw Anas has made his point and the Chief Justice has her “Lakayana” spear to kill off all the bad elements in her new courtroom. If I were she, I would only invite the good judges to the new court and leave the “sankwas” to shrink in the old rooms. They deserve it.

But she has to make sure the President releases the report on the Commissioner of Human Rights and Admin Justice. I don’t know why Veep Amissah is sitting on that report. He did a quick turn around with the judge dismissals; he should hasten this one before his boss comes home with his pro-corruption guidelines.

And the rains came down and the floods went up; the rains came down and the floods went up and JDM was at it, telling the international community, stories about Ghana they are finding difficult to recount. In the US and many places he toured, his “mmotia” tales of how Ghana is performing and how he is tackling issues head on and resolving them; his distorted optimism of an African renaissance, too far from the reality of dumsor, a depreciating cedi and huge debt to GDP ratio (the three Disasters of our economy) lends a view to his mind; a person with no intention of correcting any wrongs, just meandering along till into election year when he will suddenly find a new set of Toyota Prados for the ease and comfort of the Regional House of Chiefs.

So here is the MUST listen video of the week. Copy and paste the link and watch your esteemed President Mahama, waffling his way out of critical questions on corruption and economic performance. Now he is in motion from goat to motorcar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=65&v=l70jBAQfA8A

And the rains came down and the floods went up; the rains came down and the floods went up and JDM gave his most uncomfortable worst. His Government has only been in power for two and a half years. Who said tweaa?

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

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