Salvaging Ghana – By Fo Fovi
The ruling party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the biggest opposition party, National Patriotic Party (NPP) are by far the most prominent political parties of all times that the connoisseurs have even proposed the idea of a two-party state. These two parties are basically separated by their political ideologies i.e. the NDC believes that firms, organizations and the enterprises be state-owned whereas the NPP believes it should be owned by individuals.
However, what we see is that the state-owned corporations run down after a few years of their existence while the ones owned by individuals are sustained even during downturns in the economy. Is it that we do not have the men to manage these state-owned enterprises and corporations or it is just a matter of ‘3 tua wu y)nko hoa 3 tua dua hu’ to wit ‘if it has to do with your friend, it’s like that of a tree’. I want to believe that both parties have collectively failed us woefully as a nation.
Just recently, the leader of the opposition, NPP in a statement admonished the ruling government NDC to be mindful of how they go about borrowing from the Bretton Wood institutions and other donor countries, so as not to plunge the nation into another phase of a HIPC or to over-burden the generations to come, since our oil is being used for the mortgage of which the government owns only a 10% share. If these statements were pronounced with good intent, then it is in the right direction but if it was done with malice, to cast the ruling government in a bad light, then it has to be treated with the contempt it deserves.
It is not good to continue doing things that were done wrongly in the past by the successive governments hence the change from time to time to give them a chance to do the right thing but what did we see in the President Kufuor regime? They sold almost all of the state-owned enterprises because they do not believe in social democracy anyway. They sold the defunct Ghana Airways after poorly managing it and finally diversified it like the others before it, sold state lands, inflated contracts, awarded some to undeserving contractors and also took kickbacks.
They also sold the Ghana Telecom and some few others. It is even disheartening to note that, these assets were sold out to their cronies. Apart from our debts that were cancelled as a result of the HIPC pact, they also borrowed so much to enrich themselves that some individuals even have to lend money from their own pockets to the nation and some also went to a hair salon to contract loans for us.
So much money was spent on projects that did not have direct impact on the citizenry such as the Jubilee house and the celebration of Ghana @50. So much money was wasted on branded caps and caps, T-shirts, series of parties and uncompleted toilets. And as if that was not insulting enough, we were told to go and feed on ‘kokonte’ and mangoes because we were a bunch of ‘lazy’ people. And all these while, where was the current leader of the opposition party who thinks borrowing now is a no-go area?
Then came 2008 and the NDC was voted into power to correct things and to fulfill their campaign promises but their posture gives us an impression of weak leadership as confirmed recently by Wikileaks cable. The president; the driver of the Yutong bus seem to have no particular destination in mind and only enjoying the drive without bearing. This has left the citizenry as confused as ever.
They started with committees which did not achieve their purposes like the Public Account Committees, the Ghana @50 committee and a whole lot of fact finding committees and till now, I cannot tell if they found any fact to prosecute some corrupt members of the past government as purported. They have lost a myriad of cases against some individuals and the opposition NPP.
A $3B loan have recently being approved to Ghana with our oil as a mortgage or collateral making 10billion in their almost three years into governance when the nation itself has only 10% shares in the oil revenue. What shall they use the money for one may ask; construction of roads perhaps.
This 3billion dollar facility will be attracting an interest of GH¢100million monthly which sums up to GH¢1.2billion annually, which is about 35% of our aggregate exports, so we end up servicing the loan rather than paying off our debts because the principal is still outstanding. And these loans will not be cleared in a long time to come because these donor countries do not have our interest at hear and will forever be a developing country if we keep going to them with cap in hand.
What are our leaders using the monies for? Methinks we have to hold them accountable. The NDC government increased the toll levy and accrues about GH¢120million annually as announced by the former transport Minister yet we still borrow colossal amounts of money. Is it that we do not have the men? Do we lack the expertise or it is simply an issue of attitude? Why are we not able to pay our debts? Is it that we do not use the money for the rightful purposes for which the money was borrowed? We want to see rapid transformation in architecture, development in all facets of our lives, technological changes and others.
We live in a nation where the majority always coerces the minority to assent to loan bills but takes offence when the minority asks for accountability. They just bicker among themselves and then the case dies. Is the money for the ruling government or for the state?
We have to change our attitudes towards the way we go about things in the nation championed by our leaders. We have to be selfless and transparent in our dealings. We are either undertaking expansion projects on our roads or constructing overpass. What we need is dutiful and diligent Policemen and women to direct traffic so as to avoid unnecessary traffic jams in town which gives us the impression that we rather need this roads expanded to meet the demands of these road users.
We need traffic abiding with good motoring and skillful drivers to mitigate some of these problems, e.g. we do not need two-way traffics having about four lanes during rush hours. We do not need families or individuals mounting road blocks in the metropolis because they are either mourning or having a party thus putting pressure on the main roads. There is too much lawlessness and this must STOP!
Alternatively, if we change our attitudes and use the monies for their rightful purposes, we won’t need that much loan to help us solve our problems. Our leaders have to be proactive and stop the political gimmick and the ‘nkakabis3m’ they exhibit at the legislation sessions.
It is high time these leaders and all of us think of ourselves as solving just ONE problem; thus building mother Ghana regardless of your affiliation, creed, race, gender or color. We all are Ghanaians and have to help build it rather than fleecing it when we have the opportunity. Let us all come together in contributing our quota to propel Ghana to where it belongs.