Business in Ghana

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Ananse Sɛm. Critical News, 15th November 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on November 17, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

We have forty-six more days to the end of “dumsor” and I can’t wait for the days to roll by so we can get away from this misery bequeathed on us by the NDC government.

The Minister of Power has offered to resign if he does not end the dark crisis by the end of the year and I am for once asking a minister of this state to honor their word by actually being noble enough and give us an opportunity to respect him/her.

If the crisis is not over by 31st December, the government will have another chance to redeem its honor before we vote in November. If they don’t fix this “dumsor”, I will beg the people of Ghana on my hands and knees in regal supplication to vote the NDC out. There is no way we should carry this incompetence forward for another term of Social Democracy.

In the meantime, the Minister of Finance came to commit the whole of its government to 845Mw of power generation by the end of this year, and that is forty-six days from today.

In his budget speech, which we will get into in a few sentences, Finance Minister Seth Terkper promised to have that much generation on tap before the year ends. Not that we believe this “ananse” story, but we are a nation of “hopers”. We thrive on the benefits of the afterlife and make sure that everything we live for today, is the sacrifice we make to arrive at tomorrow very safely and cheerfully, because we are believers.

We believe “ananse sɛm” and we believe that this Government has good things for us in the very medium and long-term future. We accept that today will be ours to weave a life but we desperately wish that some ethereal being will provide the answers to our woes on earth and leave the tomorrow to the faith we depend on to see us through today.

But today’s budget is not for tomorrow’s relief. What we heard on Friday on the floor of Parliament from a very bemused Finance Minister and sometimes a giggling one, strange, as it sounded will be the string we cling to in order that we can see the end of today.

Ananse Sɛm are told to children as folklore to amuse and bemuse them, but also to teach them some of the wisdom of life and to demystify some of the strange things in life, which in one particular story, explains how all stories came to earth through Kwaku Ananse, the witty spider, whose specialty, hoodwinking his opponents is legendary.

In its true form, a budget conveys achievements or failures over a period of time. The period is very defined and what we call deviations or variances from the targeted metric are clearly explained to those whose expectations and future business evolution from the previous year was premised on what they thought would happen if Government followed through with all its commitments.

On Friday we heard a litany of jokes and claims of achievement that the Finance Minister himself found too amusing to sober-face in Parliament. Throughout his two and a half hour delivery to a half-house Parliament, most who were either on their cell phones or looking so bored they carried on chitchat with others to keep awake, he found most of his speech ludicrous enough to pause for effect and beam with insulting amusement.

And to the end, he clearly had lost his audience as he moved to his Black Stars of Ghana punch line, forgetting that the investigation into the fraud of the World Cup has still got most of us wondering whether the end is yet to come.

It couldn’t have been more dry and couldn’t have been more empty with nothing to show we are in for a hard finish to the line in November next year. But maybe I was reading a different end game. This Government is most possibly not interested in winning the issues debate in the country.

If my theory is right, the intention of the NDC government is to win votes through all other means possible than through constructive debate of what it means to be a government of Social Democracy than one of a property acquiring capitalist party as they tag the NPP party.

We have acquired far too many complexes now to unravel anything simply. Too many woven processes blending one into the other to make it easy to change without affecting too many carts and cronies, some of who are foreign.

Yet most if not all our ministers and parliamentarians have, since they started governing this country, bought houses, land, farms and internationally banked cash surpluses because we don’t have the mechanisms to detect this.

Even the simple solution, such as all Ministers MUST declare their assets publicly at the beginning of their tenor and also after, is not implementable. The emphasis here is “public declaration”. This is a simple fix, but will go a long way to creating a citizen’s awareness platform and enable us to watch how these trusted managers of the State purse suddenly become rich with political hegemony.

Why are we reluctant to do this? Do we need the white man to insist? Or do we need another coup to shake the foundations of our society before we wake from the stupor of wicker political stories?

So what did “Ntekuma” Terkper have to say about the most important situation facing us? Where the “dumsor” going? And let me illustrate my point about a review of the previous budget to show what has been achieved a year after we report back.

In his medium term review the Finance Minister stated in a summary of the answer to the power challenges that the NDC Government has planned an increase in our generation capacity of 3,000Mw. Here is his “ananse” list, all in Mw currency. This is 21st July 2015.

Powership IPP – 225, Ameri T’di – 250, AKSA – 320, TE1 – 110, GE Early – 300, KYPP (Kpone) – 220, TICO Expansion – 110, Asogli Phase 2(1) – 180, VRA TT2PP – 38, Asogli Phase 2 – 360, CenPower – 350, Jacobsen – 360 and Amandi – 240. All adds up to 2,268Mw.

But when he comes to this year’s budget, we now have only Powership IPP, Ameri T’di, KTPP, Tico Expansion, Asogli Phase 2, VRA TT2PP. Total 843Mw. So what happened to all the in-progress projects and the expected 3,000Mw output in the near future?

Shouldn’t we have been told how far we are down the line with all the rosy projects coming up in the near future, the stuff that gave us hope that the”dumsor” is virtually done in mid-year last year?

We lurch from one hope to the next, a great way to keep us salivating of a rosy future that never appears. “Ananse Sɛm”.

Well Afoko has been relegated to the fringes of the New Patriotic Party. The Executive Council agreed to keep him on indefinite suspension. Now they have to deal with Kwabena Agyepong if he does not deal with himself.

The NDC postponed their Congress for another week while they resolve some important issues in the party. Whatever happens they will vote. I am looking out and into Chiana Paga where I have a special interest in seeing whether Abuga Pele will be elected as their Parliamentary candidate. His nomination segues beautifully into my GYEEDA matters and anti corruption events. He is in court for possible theft and other things.

Both political parties MUST show that they are committed to discipline at the highest level. We can’t afford to have political fights and murder as samples of their brand of politics and what is to come when they get to govern.

Please show us your mettle and don’t come to us with stories we don’t believe and you sef know that you are telling “ananse sɛm”.

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

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