Business in Ghana

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And Superman Left. Critical News, 25th October 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on October 25, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

We have reached a tipping point on the voter’s register. The Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) have filed action against the police for the brutal beating and maiming of their marchers in a peaceful demonstration last month.

Not knowing what to do with the fall out from the march, the police had themselves initiated an accusation of unruly behaviour and deviation from the route as determined between them and the marchers.

The fact that the law is quite clear, in my opinion that you don’t need police permission in this country to go on a peaceful march, we will track this case and see how it rolls out. One thing the police should be clear about, this is not going to end with the LMVCA withdrawing their case. It will go to the wire, and of course with Justice Ajet Nasam on the road, there is enough hope that the system will hold its seams.

The honorable Justice has “escaped” from society for a few days, maybe months, we are yet to determine, but hopefully, others will now take their roles a lot more seriously and apply more diligence to the process of justice. I wish for the day when all the adjournments and delays will end and we will have faster justice.

I can’t believe we are still hearing the Abuga Pele and Assibit case after so many months and even as I was corrected by Fred Agbanyo on radio yesterday that Abuga has not been cleared in Chiana Paga to run for Parliament for the NDC, I take it with a pinch of salt, because I read it myself and it was very clear that a possible criminal had been selected to go to Parliament on behalf of the NDC party.

And on court delays and postponements, where is the report on the recommendations of the former CHRAJ boss Lauretta Lamptey? And CHRAJ. Where is the response to my petition on GYEEDA? It has been with your office since November 2013. Or is someone waiting for the appropriate bribe before they act?

I picked up a most disturbing story this week, upset me a lot. We now have 116,000 households on the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP). Read how proud Nana Oye Lithur is with this new statistic, supported by the donors. http://citifmonline.com/2015/10/24/leap-making-significant-strides-nana-oye/. Nothing wrong with giving money to poor people, you would say and I agree.

But these persons in Ghana classified as poor are not poor at all. In this country where we have abundant land, water galore and human bodies capable of doing hard work, why don’t we channel the effort into reforming the land law, and making land and capital available for farming?

Who is the twit who decided we should dismantle the Agricultural Development Bank and derail the development of agriculture in this country? How do we ensure food security when banks are only interested in short term investment and charging riculous “terkper-nomic” rates of between 36% and 48% per anum? How is it going to work?

Is it not nobler for a people to work for their living than give them ghc5 a week to encourage them to come back for another handout next week?

We are not a poor people. We are a people bankrupt on ideas who even when presented with the best opportunities to turn our fortunes around prefer to borrow money and complain that international commodity prices are unfavorable.

The problem with Mr. Terkper’s solution is, having hinged it all on the crude oil price staying within the $100+ range, the bottom has fallen out and he has no options left. He forgot we farm and do galamsey.

This country is running what is akin to a Ponzi scheme and eventually the bottom will floor and drop out. This week’s two-thirds subscription of the recent local bond is the next sign in the works. After backing down on the $1.5 billion Eurobond in the week, taking the highest ever interest rate in the history of this country, his recent foray into the domestic bond market should let him see the folly of trying to borrow his way out of debt.

JDM is right on one thing. The problems of this economy started way back. Where he has failed, both he and his economic team is in not starting to correct what they knew was wrong. The NDC party has run government in this country for much longer than any other, and if you include the Rawlings (P)NDC era, they have been the prime cause of all the aggravated pain we are going through now. HIPC again! Through bad strategy!

But if they listen to what is said and analysed carefully, they will hear the solutions.

One, change the focus from oil to Agriculture. Two, trim state expenditure by reducing the burden of managing schools and health care. Three, decentralize, decentralize, decentralize. Do it properly and devolve development to the Districts and Municipalities. Four, rope in the informal sector and develop a system to collect taxes directly, using e-technology for VAT and income tax. Five, Take a tough stance at the ports and harbours in the country and close all the loopholes for tax evasion (there is enough seepage there to close the fiscal deficit and take care of infrastructure). Six, stop dreaming about State Enterprises borrowing on their balance sheets. They are all bankrupt and have insufficient revenue to capitalize their balance sheets. Lastly, stop borrowing money and look inside Ghana. There are enough ways to increase revenue, particularly if you look especially at all the additional non-charitable income sources from the churches.

These are my top recommendations. I will flesh them out in more detail over the next few days and send Mr. Terkper a copy. I will also try and put numbers to all this, see if I can make a case for him to consider. But I will insist he gives credit where credit is due.

The NPP finally took a decision on superman Chairman Paul Afoko. After weeks of defying the top brass of the party, daring them to kick him out if they thought they could, they finally did the “could” and gave him the indefinite boot. Now we wonder if Kwabena “Lois Lane” Agyepong will “AGLOW” to Independence Square. There have been some wicked pieces on social media showcasing Kwabena’s resignation letter. I think we ignore all that until he reads it in public himself.

Meanwhile we are yet to get to the bottom of the Gregory Afoko murder trial. More and more court delays, and these days we immediately wonder if there is some negotiation in the background.

The voter’s register must have at least two million extra names on it. Last week I did a quick back of the envelope using 21 years as the voting age, but I was wrong. I hear it is 18. So here is my new calculation of the maximum number of voters Ghana can possibly have, if we all vote.

Ghana Living Standards Survey released August 2014 covering the period October 2012 to October 2013. Estimated household population was 26.3 million. The total percentage below 18 is approximately 52%. That leaves 48% over 18. About 3% are in the pensioned range and another 1.5% are foreigners not eligible to vote. That leaves 43.5% of the 26.3million to vote, so we can’t have more than 11.44 million voters. Over 14 million persons voted and both the NPP and NDC are responsible for this distortion. Rather than blame each other, they need to look at the people they have wronged, we the voting citizens of Ghana, and correct the anomaly. They can both tell us how they did it!

And finally John Mahama our President admitted during the week that both he and his finance minister don’t really understand what economic malaise they are trying to solve. Looking at their “non-achievements”, his offered suggestion was we should look back at the Ghana economy. From “efiri tete” no one, not even the foreign supermen have been able to fix Ghana’s economy and neither he nor Seth Terkper have been declared supermen.

So what else is left for him to lie about? The door is closed, all supermen have left, leave the dumsor switch on and lets vote.

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

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