To: His Excellency Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, President of Ghana Accra, Ghana
Advice To The New Ghanaian President – Building a Globally Competitive and First Class GhanaDear President Mills,
There is a silent group of Ghanaians overseas, and in Ghana, who have been praying along with our poor and suffering people of Ghana for decades waiting for the day when politics will become an art of public service rather than a platform for greed and selfish attainments. This is what we have seen most of our local and national post-independence political leaders engage in, leading to our stymied national socio-economic growth and human development.
Post Independence Leadership Failures –
Some of us consider Ghana’s leadership failure after independence, with its attempted assassinations of our first leader in the early years, the Parliamentary declaration of one-party state, to the military adventurism after the CIA- inspired coup of 1966, and consequent failure of the state institutions a major disgrace of not only Ghana but Africa and the black race as a whole. We need to remember that while our nation and people floundered, others succeeded in pulling themselves out of third world socio-economic status. The core reason for failure has not been our people’s intelligence or abilities, but rather the failure of our leadership. The success of Ghanaians in competing in top Universities globally and performance in various professions overseas are valid proof that we are not of an inferior race.
According to World Bank reports (2003), while Ghana’s GDP per capita was $320, Nigeria at $320, Botswana at $3,430, Singapore was $21,230 and Korea $12,020 and Hong Kong $25,430 (compare to USA at $37,610, UK at $28,350). The figures have not changed much since the report. Africa has failed, and it’s due to failed leadership. Instead of being honest with ourselves, some of us see our local academicians who seem often interested to fake numbers to obtain loans, which they eventually squander, or to project a better image for political reasons. It is a moral outrage indeed to see in this day and age water being rationed in Accra and our towns, whiles the nation takes hundreds of millions in grants and loans ostensibly to address the water problem, and yet cannot even account for the monies. We still see open gutters breeding mosquitoes even in the finest communities in our cities as well as towns. Our leaders continue to travel around the world seeking financial aid from the West to balance our national budget every year. At the same time they are selling state assets, closing down factories while importing over 90% of what we consume, and engage in what appears to be unfettered government spending, self adornment with medals, million dollar ex-gratia emoluments, whiles still accumulating $8 billion in unpaid debts to date! This does not make sense! It does not augur well for the intelligence of the black man! If the reason is lack of experienced personnel, half a century after independence and the goodwill of Western Universities granting our students scholarships, our leaders can exploit the millions of expert global Ghanaian talent by inviting them home to help move our nation at par with the global community. Everybody needs a job, and the least our leaders can do is invite these people overseas, already trained and experienced, to help our nation design simple strategies and systems to salvage our nation! They can help to mobilize taxes efficiently, to manage our resources in a modern and efficient manner, with modern and tried technological systems, to develop our nation. Failure to utilize our available and ready human resources as part of our developmental plan, seem to suggest a deliberate effort by our leaders to get into power, avoid analysis and competition, and only to sabotage Ghana’s economy to the benefit of a few selfish and greedy people. It has been a disgrace to the nation. Some have pledged never to rest till we see the day of honest effective leadership in Ghana!
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) party lost the elections in 2000 due to a high level of social dissatisfaction, as many experts might agree. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) was in office for eight years, and by 2008 it appears the NPP did not learn any meaningful lessons in all those years. A World Bank reports (2003) showed that over 70% of Ghanaians did not have potable water daily, and later reports gave an estimated 55, 000 of our people die annually from malaria caused by mosquitoes. It is well known that mosquitoes breed from our dirty and filthy environment. We can control this if we tried. Our governments in the past have woefully failed to seek solutions as other nations have done, but rather keep building open gutters, whiles we import malaria tablets and our medical costs escalate to over $1 Billion annually! Many including the writer have expressed outrage about this and given advice to governments for decades, but our leaders fail to heed. Do their advisers fail to deliver mail to them, and/or they themselves do not seem to read the papers to know what the people think! The young generation is beginning to demand performance results at the polls, irrespective of which party is in power. It is the duty of our current leader elected in 2008 to solve some of these problems, and not to exacerbate the dissatisfaction of the people further.
In an article published on Ghanaweb of Dec. 27, 2008 titled “The Race Is Between Atta Mills And Akufo Addo”, this writer argued that Ghanaians should give Professor Mills a chance, and ignore the fear-mongering that a Mills win would be an NDC win, and hence a continuation of another “Rawlings dictatorship” (many still recall the PNDC era and it still haunts them). Often, we see unrelated tribal sentiments propagated by some opponents. It was argued that as an educated man who had risen to Head of Department in his field to become a full Professor, the chances of the founder of the party, former President Jerry Rawlings, being in the office every morning to issue instructions, set policy and implement them for the nation under the new leadership was very slim indeed. This will be contrary to what some people suggested or feared. The final Presidential race was thus between an individual called Prof. Atta Mills and another called Nana Akufo Addo, each with individual leadership characteristics and credentials, and less between the NDC and the NPP as parties.
After the electoral victory, people expect to see the difference in not only the goodwill and good words, but effective execution of manifesto, vision, plans and ideas. Four years of effective dynamic leadership can make a difference in the lives of many and save many lives! One cannot afford politics as usual. The people of Ghana are expecting change, and quickly! Many have argued that they expected Prof. Mills to have been more assertive in the past. However, many are prepared to accept that human personalities and leadership styles differ and are willing to overlook such traits and focus on a new vision towards a better more focused effort at solutions to our socio-economic and human development problems. People can ignore personal sentiments if results are demonstrated to improve. Improvement will not happen by sticking to the status quo: the same methods, the same people, and what has not worked in the past. A strategy including active global talent recruitment and global solutions is what will bring tangible change to the benefit of our people. However, clearly, the ball is now in the new President’s court and he has all the time and power to demonstrate that those who opted for him were justified in entrusting him with their trust, support and vote.
Expectations of the People -
Every job performance rating is based on people’s expectations. One can assume safely that Professor Mills has desired this job of President for over ten years - ever since he was the Vice President. We therefore wish to take this opportunity to give him a few suggestions on the expectations of the people, and humbly make recommendations on how to manage Ghana to make it a better place to live, invest and conduct business, whiles we all work towards a first class or first-world nation, as Singapore and others have been has been able to do. If these are done, people will be happy to vote for the President and the party in 2012, or give him the due place in history as a great contributor or great leader. It is of prime importance that the new President Mills becomes sensitive to the needs of the people and forget about what one politician calls “book-long” statistics of achievement. Many writers including this writer have written to openly offer advice and solutions to the last NPP government for many years, especially after the writer’s research in Ghana in 2004-2006 on peoples’ expectations of leadership and performance valuation (Danso, K.A., 2007. Leadership Concepts and the Role of Government in Africa: The case of Ghana). The results of the research could have predicted the 2008 electoral outcome. The people of Ghana have been ignored for far too long by politicians! The large majority of our people are dissatisfied or highly disappointed.
Based on the research, the number one expectation which was not being met by our leadership was basic “concern for the interests of the people” in the delivery of services such as water, reliable electricity, transportation and communication services, and clean and healthy environments. This was followed by “(poor) management of resources” as perceived by the participants in the survey.
It is hoped that the new President will not forget the interests of the people. If he forgets, he will only add to the list as another failed leader and end up in disgrace. The first expectations of the people from their leader are very simple: Simple love and concern! In this memo we include some other long term expectations, problems and proposed solutions, and cite examples.
1. The WATER SITUATION – Water is the number one need in human society. Let us use the water issues in Ghana to demonstrate the failure in leadership and how we can solve it. We cannot accept 70%, 60%, or even 10% of our people living without potable water. Irrespective of economic location or other characteristics, we need 100% of our people to have access to clean healthy water! The President needs to use local engineering staff of Ghana Water Company or other Engineering talent to estimate the cost of Water projects (materials such as motors, pumps, pipes, labor) in every district or town. This can be done and the results summarized and published within two weeks to a maximum of two months after taking office. It should not take more than two days for any good engineering Manager to find the cost of motors and services for towns of known populations. Ghana Water should have that information already. If they do not produce the results in two weeks to a maximum four weeks, the President should terminate the appointment of these directors/managers. Every day is critical as more than 150 people die in Ghana daily, due to contamination and other environmentally induced diseases related to water.
External Management Companies, SOEs, Corruption – It appears obvious that public corruption has forced Ghana to our economic knees. We import perhaps over 90% of all we consume and have lost our competitiveness. We must all ask: Why do we have an accumulated debt burden estimated at $8.1 Billion, massive foreign grants every year, and still do not have water, stable and reliable electricity, first-class motorway-type highways and traffic flow through our cities? Why do we still have open gutters breeding mosquitoes? Our political leadership selection process cost Ghana in excess of $45 million and we have built a Presidential mansion in excess of $50 million. As of the April 2009, the accounts have still not been reconciled and an over-invoicing of more than $40 million is not explained. Ghana should be able to manage grants and loan funds and regulate Banks to finance small business enterprises! We can use water as an example and generalize to the failure of State owned enterprises (SOE), World Banks ill-advice over the decades, and foreign Management consulting firms. Effective leadership is all we need to solve these.
Foreign Management Consulting Contracts for managing our water company should be terminated - (or we should not renew them), and let us utilize the global talent pool of Ghanaians and pay them globally competitive salaries. Leadership involves setting your VISION, then letting all these Managers and Directors of enterprises set their GOALS, and then you the Leader “cracking the whip”, so to speak. It’s a matter of discipline. It’s called Management! Pure and simple! Many Ghanaians overseas have had the chance to work under effective management, where discipline and aggressive pursuit of goals have led to success. Aggressive well managed global companies such as Intel Corporation of Santa Clara have grown from about $1 Billion in 1984 when this writer worked for them, to over $35 Billion in the last two or so decades. Let us stop draining Ghana’s resources for things that we can do for ourselves. Why should Indians build a Presidential palace for us for $50 million? If one “Transsaco Valley” mansion costs $500,000, we can build a Presidential mansion and offices 20 times bigger, for only $10 million! To borrow one from American President elect Barack Obama, Yes, We can! Mr. President-elect, Yes, you can also!
HIRING of Top Management should be done through global search and open advertisement. It is better to pay a qualified Ghanaian technocrat with experience $100,000 or more per year than hire these foreign “consulting firms” and pay say $20 million whiles records show we get no better results from them. Is water delivery any better? After 3 years, these foreign firms are still giving excuses and delivery is not reliable? According to former US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, it should not cost more than $25 million to develop water system for the more than 10 million without potable water (Suskind, R., The Price of Loyalty, 2004). Despite this negligence of government, Ghana has received $103 million in World Bank grant in Jan.2005 and a loan of $500 million in Jan. 2006. It can be easily demonstrated through proper calculations that we don’t need external loans to build water systems, if we know how to design a budget, tax, account for funds and manage honestly and effectively.
World Bank and external advice have not proven beneficial and to our best interest all the time, as American Author John Perkins has demonstrated well in his book “Confessions of An Economic Hit Man”. We end up with accumulated debt burden now estimated at $8.1 Billion (Bank of Ghana). In 4 decades, we see no major American-type highways to show, or even water systems! Ghana Airways, Black Star Lines, GIHOC group of industries, State Hotels, Ghana Telecom, are example of failure in Management. However, they are a reflection of failure in Leadership. Singapore started with State Owned Enterprises and gradually changed them to private ownership stock corporations. Yes, we can also! If only we have good leadership. To help you in your management of the nation, here are a few ideas:
SETTING GOALS – Please note that Management is a study in itself. From your Vision, set Goals and push your Ministers and Directors to set their own Goals and Objectives and push to meet them. The tried and tested methods of such management system comes from classic management theories developed from the works of Adam Smith (1776), Frederick the Great -King of Prussia (1740-1786), and later ideas started by Frenchman Henry Fayol, American F.W Mooney, Englishman Col. Lyndall Urwick in the 1800, and finally perfected by Frederick Taylor in early 1900s in American industry. MBO – Management by Objectives is still in popular use in American industries such as the giant technology company Intel Corporation, where the writer was fortunate to be employed as a Project Manager in 1984/85.
TIME Milestones – After meetings with the Management of the utility companies, the President should provide Project Milestone of when water will be provided to local towns and cities and publish that within 30 days of taking office. Any Project Manager who cannot do this should be terminated.
Grants & Loans for Water – The President should set up an independent body to investigate the use of the $103 million grant (Jan.2005) and $500 million loan (Jan.2006) for urban and rural water projects from the World Bank. Such report can be made ready within 30 days including recommendations for action. If any malfeasance is detected, have the government attorneys and prosecutors file criminal action within 15-45 days. Ghana needs to put people in jail who steal public funds. Period! There should be no semblance of partisanship or ethnicity in the administration of justice under any leadership. People will respect a President if he uses the rule of law and people are sentenced to jail through the normal courts (if the courts are not used as a way to delay cases or favor preferred outcomes). Let us move beyond this culture of “forgive and forget” in public service for those who steal public funds, and the mindset that we can always borrow some more, or other nations will give us grants and loans! Let us live by the Rule of Law and let the chips fall where they may!
Massive Government Spending habits – Ghanaians are highly dissatisfied about excessive government spending habits, including (a) Presidential travels in entourages, and per diem allowances. All per diems should be made public knowledge and all travels must demonstrate specific use to the nation or department.
(b) Ghana@50 Expenditure - should be audited fully and publicly disclosed, within 60 days.
(c) The Presidential Mansion and offices – they are already built. I recommend they be used and Ghana can set up a paid tour program in non-critical areas (if security can be designed) that can generate revenue for upkeep. Two hundred thousand (200,000) tourists per year at average $5 can bring in $1,000,000 to government for maintenance. All construction costs and expenditure must be fully audited by the Auditor General’s office and any irregularities given to the Attorney General for prosecution within 3 months. (d)The Presidential Jets – this was very unpopular. It must be re-evaluated as to competitive price bidding and value to the nation.
(e) Ghana Airways collapse – this should be investigated by an independent body and all guilty should be jailed for causing financial loss to the state.
(f) State Hotels – some of these such as the ones in Kumasi, and Takoradi are still abandoned huge buildings. Why? It is so painful to see this failed leadership! For God’s sake, people pay taxes to support elected and appointed officials. An independent audit body should be set up to evaluate the downfall of state projects and factories, and report the causes of failure so we can put to rest once and for all and punish the culprits and public thieves. No one is suggesting a witch-hunt, but our people need to learn from old mistakes, respect state property, and not waste the taxpayer’s money to private crooks ever again!
2. AUDITOR GENERAL’S Report – The failure of the NPP was the inability to follow the rule of law with discipline. The President should set up an independent body to investigate the Auditor General’s Report of Nov. 2008 and take action within 30 days of taking office. Let the rule of law work and it must be done immediately, not after 7 years! Other previous year’s reports can be investigated and the time extended for such investigations to 6 months. In a GLU teleconference meeting with Hon. P.C. Appiah Ofori in 2007, he indicated to us that every year since he entered Parliament, the Auditor General’s report had questions. Who was responsible for action? Parliament. Who is in charge of Parliament? The Speaker! The President should give strict guidelines to the Speaker of the House and the AG to take action immediately cases are brought to the light. This will not be an interference with Parliament. A report like that should not be put on the back burner, and our nation’s leaders should never permit high level criminals in our society to get away for political reasons! The 2008 elections should serve as a warning that the people are getting more aware than the politicians give them credit.
3. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGETS – Mr. President, with all due respect for those ahead, it can be safely stated by this writer that the art and science of designing a budget and taxation system with a plan to live within our means is missing in Ghana, in spite of our global talent pool. Our leaders in the past seemed to have thought that they could keep spending and foreigners will keep subsidizing our budget forever? The President should put together a team of experts in Management and Finance, with proven experience, and let us learn this simple practice of using our God-given cognitive intelligence as well as global talent pool to survive on this earth! There is no reason on earth why a nation that cannot provide water to her people, where 78.5% of the people live under $2 per day (World Bank, 2003) should be providing their officials with a fleet of the most expensive SUV vehicle in the world, the Toyota Landcruiser ™ at about $75,000 (US price) and about $100,000 in Ghana! Some Ghanaians in America earn over $100,000 per year and yet would buy a used SUV at a cost of say $15,000 (plus shipping of $2,000). However government will charge duties, taxes and fees of about $9,000! Sir, this is excessive personal taxation. This type of excessive government tax policy has been found to be counterproductive to socio-economic development, as found in a 50 year study in South America by Prof. Ishmael Cole (1992). Let us spread taxation to all areas, not just on the few who are trying to build a middle class life. This is a puzzle that Ghana has not been able to solve for four decades. It is not that difficult, and it’s not academic theoretical work. The President should rely on people with solid experience.
Within 7 to 30 days, set up a Team Reporting to the President, responsible for all government projects and financial management of all contracts and projects for which loans or grants are procured by the government, or annual budgets made. The OMB (Office of Management and Budgets) should have full responsibility to help Departments and Ministries design their budgets, as well as overall national budget, and investigate, recommend or withhold financing and/or initiate criminal prosecution if any mismanagement is detected.
4. Pay for Government Executives – Ghana should practice openness and honesty in our dealings with the public. In modern civilized democratic societies, the salaries of public officials are open to the public. Newspapers publish them. Our President should set the good example and stop deceiving the public that political executives can live on $400 per month, or even $1,000 per month. One of the most sensitive political issues in any nation is the pay of Ministers, MPs and the President. However, as much as Americans for example may criticize the elected officials, they live with it, since they compare the salaries of corporate CEOs. Ghanaians are smart enough to know by now that some MPs and Ministers are educated and qualified enough to have a decent pay anywhere in the world. Let us determine a fair living wage and salary for all, and start with the President, Ministers, MPs and government executives, and stop the charade and hypocrisy of those in government hiding under housing, car, petrol and other allowances.
The LIVING WAGE must be worked on right away. Nobody deserves to be paid below what they can survive on in the society. Mr. President, how do you think ordinary people feel when they see the lavish lifestyle of the elected and appointed government officials and executives, when ordinary water is not running? The cost of all these allowances cost the government more than if they were given a flat decent salary for their work. Example, a $100,000 car amortized over 4 years at 10% interest is equivalent in financial amortization to $2,536 per month salary. At the market bank rate of 29%, the equivalent will be $3,543 per month. If one adds the other house allowances, petrol maintenance, insurance, and bonuses, we can figure out what is fair and equivalent. The government should just pay executives well, and then set high standards, and demand world class performance. If they steal they should simply be prosecuted and jailed. The recent allegations of ex-speaker Sekyi Hughes taking furniture worth $300,000 to $400,000 would be avoided if we had paid him a fair wage and not be responsible for his housing.
Abuse of public trust is exhibited in many ways. In August 2004 during a durbar tour of President Kufuor to Abetifi and other towns, I counted personally 15 Toyota Landcruiser™ and other expensive vehicles in an entourage. In the mean time water in Abetifi and other Kwahu towns, including the metro area of Nkawkaw, was not running! One cannot forgive a President for this neglect. Did he think the people of Kwahu are fools? Please Mr. President, have Parliament enact a new rule to pay total package salaries and cut the wasteful invisible benefits and expenditures out within 30-60 days. Let every executives buy their own vehicles, find their own housing and pay taxes like everybody else. That is what is done in America where you had part of your education. How do you think the poor Ghanaians feels when they see these officials driving to funerals on weekends in $75,000 -$100,000 vehicles when the poor rural folks don’t have water? Please be sensitive to the needs of the people! That is how modern democracies work! PLEASE stop this secret salary structure for government with 60 days of your administration!
5. ELECTRICITY – Technology should work in America or UK as in Ghana. Apart from the KWH quantity of electricity, quality and reliability are important; unreliable and poor quality electricity is costing the people too much. Ghana has a poor design of electricity distribution at the step-down to homes leading to the ruining of appliances in most household. Users of electricity therefore suffer additional hundreds of thousands of dollars in purchasing additional stabilizers, surge suppressors, in addition to repair of burned up appliances. This writer estimates an additional cost to consumers of $300 per household per year. If only 30% of the homes use electricity, and an average of 10 people per household, that amounts to a loss of $198 million per year! Somebody must take responsibility! It is your job as leader to solve this problem of technical negligence that can easily be solved!
The nation’s poor leadership is killing budding small potential high tech businesses and investment due to inability to manage electricity in Ghana. This must stop. The President must issue an executive order, and announce for ECG to come out with the solution within 30 days. They can figure out the cost per household to fix the problem and distribute the solution cost among users of electricity in given grid areas. This writer is an Engineer and can say categorically that this is very simple from an Engineering standpoint. The rest is leadership will. No outside loan should be sought! Let this work begin immediately and have all electricity Transformer stations install adequate capacitors and circuitry to reduce line noise and transient overshoots within 4 months. Any Manager /Director of ECG who cannot do this should be terminated immediately!
6. DISCIPLINE and BEING NICE – Sir, if you want Ghana to move forward so that in a few years we do not have to revisit these same mistakes of the past, you need to institute discipline under the rule of law! In Ghana it appears the only job performance characterization we hear is that a person is humble. Whatever this means, please don’t ever think that being nice and humble will be rewarded if you as President do not perform! Another issue, please stop Chiefs from parading and drumming in front of the President’s house every morning bringing gifts! The Presidency is not a Kingdom! In addition, culturally some Ghanaians think that if you don’t punish them for rule violations or wrong doing, you are kind or you are doing them a favor. That is lack of discipline. It has been reported that land cannot even be registered for years and Judges take over 11 years to rule on land cases. People have a right to ask: who is paying those Judges? This is unacceptable and people need to be terminated from their jobs! Sir, some people have suggested that the new President is a man of Peace, “Asomdwee-hene” or Chief of Peace; but for it is hoped that does not ever mistakenly be translated to mean weakness, which leads to lack of discipline of your staff and hence disgrace on yourself and administration. Our people of Ghana are tired of the laissez-faire leadership as we have seen in the past, and want action management. Period! They however do not like the “patapaa” type of arbitrary judgments. If there is any doubt, please Mr. President is commended to read Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s book “From Third World to First: The Singapore Story, 1965-2000”. Discipline pays and the people will love you in the long run!
7. CUSTOMER SERVICE –Complaint BOARD - Sir, when you open up and listen to peoples’ complaints, that defines the first element of concern in a democracy. For decades, customer service in Government services and the government service corporations has been very poor! The MPs who lost their seats could be predicted many years ago during my research interviews. People are not as dumb as politicians think. Your winning the Presidency is as much a failure of the previous government as it is a testament to an appreciation of your personal characteristics.
Mr. President, it is recommended that you have every Government department set up a phone reception and customer service system, with a record and data system where all complaints from customers or for services are recorded, and times of resolution recorded. This includes areas such as Lands Department, the Judicial services, the Police Stations and Departments, ECG, Ghana Water, and the Ministries. Have an independent Board be responsible for setting up standard times for complaint resolution and have occasional audits. Let the Directors and Ministers set GOALS for customer service every year, based on measurable parameters. Any Department Manager who does not resolve complaints to the satisfaction of customers three times within a two year period should be terminated from government services. The taxpayers and the voters are tired! They will not take insults anymore!
Airport Arrival Hall – A good example which is a disgrace to Ghana is the arrival Hall at our airport. Why do the arrival and departure halls at our Airport not have functioning Air conditioning all the time? In the last three years they have been down every time this writer arrived and was departing. I counted about 8 or more Split AC units, none of them turned on or functioning! At 100 degrees F, tired and sweating, what do you think our visitors and entrants will think of us as a people? Ministers and VIPs should pass through the same loungers so they see the problem, not the VIP lounge. Mr. President, please let the nation know that you do not consider your staff and people as better than our visitors.
8. MANAGING THE NATION under DECENTRALIZATION – There is an American saying that all politics is local. There is no way a President can sit in Accra and know of the daily problems and needs of the people for water, schools, sanitation, or roads in Abetifi, Zalerigu or even Accra the capital. Ghana needs to implement LOCAL MANAGEMENT through a TOWN/CITY COUNCIL system, working with the existing District Management -DCE system but refined and simplified as done in other nations. Simple management sense in any society would indicate that the people of Abetifi, Mankesim or Tamale should pay for their own water, schools, libraries and internal roads, from their property, vehicle and other taxes, and not paid by the taxpayers of another city such as Accra!
It is strongly recommended that the President works to make the Decentralization Chapter in the constitution implemented. The President can work to put the process in motion to have the 1992 CONSTITUTION AMENDED, within 90 days to the first year, to give every town and city, district and region the power to elect their own City or Town Mayor, District Chief Executive, and Regional Minister. A city council should have full responsibility for collecting taxes and budgeting for the town for their schools, libraries, public parks, police and security, internal roads, water systems, garbage collection and sanitation. This is how most modern societies are managed. Please announce to have local elections within 6 months from taking office.
9. PROPERTY and PEOPLE ID – The basis of any organizational management is the modern day is Information. Ghana has many Database and Information Technology experts throughout the world. How do you budget when you do not know how many houses are in Accra or vehicles travel along the Kintampo road or park at the Nkawkaw lorry station daily? Sir, it looks to some of us that the only thing Ghanaian officials realize the need for ID for is voting. That is wrong!
As part of the above proposal, every town, city and district should have their staff in place within three (3) months after election and provide to the National Land Archives their town or city’s site plans with given street and road names, and numbering of all real estate (land, homes or commercial properties). All properties must be numbered in a logical manner for database storage and planning, and it is highly recommended that this be announced within 30 days and done within six months after taking office. And please, do not think of seeking $100 Million World Bank loan for this! The work will never be done and Ghana will still owe $100 million (plus interest), as our history of such loans show. Let us use our educated common sense and community spirit to name our own streets and number our own houses! We don’t need loans for this! All the President has to do is announce this on the air and give the current DCEs, and MCEs time to report their planned dates for such elections. It will be done if you take the leadership!
It must be put on record that personal ID and property ID are the basis for taxation, planning, budgeting, modern day internet commerce, national security, as well as national health and retirement benefits. This should be common knowledge but our leadership has not been able to implement this since Independence. This proposal has been made in the public domain during the administration of various governments in the last 30 or more years since the rule of Col. Acheampong in the 1970s. It is quite obvious that if this is not done and implemented, Ghana will remain behind others, and we shall be talking about the failure of this government one day. Since the President attended part of his education in and lived in America for some time, this should be familiar. Local city and district councils assess property taxes, hire and pay competent city Managers, Engineers, Architects and Planners, and design their budgets and manage their lives. This does not demand any special higher education more than our people have – just the training and experience. It is the mere simple practical implementation of ideas to budget, collect taxes, and build schools, roads, libraries, public parks, police and fire services, and support the city council. Ghana should stop depending so much on only one sure source, such as port duties and VAT and NHIL taxes alone, for example, to support water delivery and schools in Abetifi or Tamale when people build houses and need water and schools in these towns. We should all be able to pay for these as communities. Yes, we can! (if the President provides the leadership).
10. INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY – An independent Judiciary is the basis of every true democracy. As much as the Judiciary is supposed to be independent and render justice, a poll of Ghanaians indicated a reduced faith and trust in the system. This may be due in part to economic dependency on the Executive branch, possibly an attempt by some in leadership to manipulate outcomes, and possibly poor internal disciplinary codes and management in the Judiciary itself. To restore integrity and trust in the Judiciary, a solution is to “release” some power to them and make them semi-autonomous where Parliament allocates their budget and gives them power to hire qualified and competent administrative managers or consultants. They need to set up a management system, including revenues and budget, and a creative means of financing through small fees in order to sustain the judiciary in the deficit financial situation of Ghana, as well as an ability to take feedback from the public as to their job performance.
And advice will be for us to pay qualified and experienced people to help us manage our institutions. Judges are not trained as Administrative Managers. Revenues in the judicial services may include sharing of the police collection of traffic fines, death and birth registration fees, court fines, case filing fees. All fees are reasonably calculated to fit a budget. These should be enough to sustain globally competitive salaries for Judges and judicial staff as also for politicians suggested above. This will avoid excessive taxation in some sectors such as the ports or VAT.
Similar Models can be used for other Ministries and Departments of Government. This writer has worked out simulated models for many Ministries and government departments as part of a book in process.
11. DUAL CITIZENSHIP Laws – Laws are made to protect citizens. It is a loss for any nation to lose their educated citizens. Mr. President: Ask yourself what are the dual citizenship laws made for, and who are the people of Ghana protecting themselves from if their brothers and sister overseas come home and possess some other nation’s passport also? The rationale for this law was simply envy, and we overseas know it. But who is hurting more? It is divisive and it only hurts the nation of Ghana to train thousands and refuse their services .
Mr. President, if Ghana is to move forward, it is highly recommended that your government be an inclusive administration which utilizes talent for optimal benefit of the nation and not based on ethnic, tribal, party or other non-cogent factors. History shows that when Kwame Nkrumah’s first government sent our best students overseas, little did anybody know they would be trained to work to build the Western civilization due to our inability to create jobs for them. How do you create innovative jobs when your best talent only sends money home? The leadership needs to do something to reclaim Ghana’s talent as Kwame Nkrumah envisioned, and heal the nation of the envy and jealousy factors involved in the dual citizenship laws. Anybody who was born in Ghana and loves Ghana should be able to contribute in not only building houses, or sending money to relatives, but also in representing the people in his area or in any position in the nation if they so choose the people elect him to serve them. No decent civilized law can take this away from a person born as a natural citizen of Ghana, especially if he has re-established residency through some reasonable investment or built a house in Ghana. In the worst cases, we can make some re-entry conditions such as a house or other assets. This issue needs to be resolved once and for all under the current administration and the leadership of President Mills.
Let us not forget this confusion started with the PNDC and NDC and we expect the laws to be reviewed and the envy factors removed for any dual or mono citizens to serve as they please and not to drive them away. The Jews realized this after WW2, and today Israel has many high tech companies relocated there from America. Leadership sometimes demands doing what may not be popular but is right. This can be done within 90 days after taking office.
12. BEING GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE –
There is a feeling by some in Ghana that we can know as much about others by simply reading their books or attending their Universities in the West without understanding and experiencing their work ethics and customs. This is a myth and great fallacy.
Strategic competitiveness implies using all one’s assets and competencies, i.e. knowledge, experience as well as resources, to compete. If Ghana is to be a major player in the global community, the core solid assets and competencies we have are the cumulative experience of our people who lived and worked overseas, which can help us meet global competition. We cannot overemphasize this and our last 4 or so decades demonstrate our nation has not succeeded and we need further skills.
Ghana abandoned creative research and financing our entrepreneurs, paying only lip service. We need to be sincere and have a carefully managed plan as Kwame Nkrumah had. Ghana can only compete and survive by moving into the modern age of information technology. We need to strategize and plan on globalization in creative production capacities through empowering our own entrepreneurial people. We can do this through the following recommended strategies:
(1) Make a special effort to attract the natives overseas to return including financial incentives as was done by nations like India which provided 90% financing for their natives from high tech areas in California to come home.
(2) Create an open-system banking and financial services, where government regulates and enforces minimal long term and short terms loans required of all licensed Banks, as well as customer service standards in Banking and financial services. Encourage the Banks to create a database and of course the government has to provide the personal and property ID system.
(3) Carefully manage grants such as the MCA account by investing in long term “banking” at below market interest rates, with a special competent staffing, and not put in the General Fund of government to spend.
(4) Research and Development should be strongly prioritized. It is quite obvious what the benefits of Science have been in the world in areas such as Medicine, Communication and other Technologies, Information Sciences and Electronics technology, Biological Sciences, and the consequent financial benefits. We expect the new President to set aside a minimum of say $50-$100 million in the Budget and hire our competent highly qualified scientists from around the world to come home and conduct research in these different areas. Government must realize that this is a business! We must invest by financing research in bio-technology, medicinal plants, new energy sources, electronic and information technologies. A minimal investment of say $40 million can hire 100 top Ghanaian Scientists at globally competitive salaries for 2 years. Within 2 to 3 years we can almost guarantee discovery of medicines that can be clinically tested and brought to the global market. Example, the Viagra™ male potency drug that has become so popular in Western nations is a medicine known in Ghana for generations; yet we sat idle while American and European companies have come out with patents making over $50 Billion in such medicinal products per year, employing our Scientists overseas.
Mr. President, it is believed that you are a smart man, and the expectation is that you know these already. Implementing a vision is different from the vision itself. That is the reason some time frame has been added to some of the above recommendations. The above hopefully will give you some insights into some of the issues from our perspective, and our views on strategies to become globally competitive and actually start empowering our people. If we do, we can produce some of our own products, creating jobs, as Ghana’s first premier Kwame Nkrumah envisioned and planned. This time we will use privatization but government-backed financing, as even done in America where the writer has been in not only corporate management, but also management of small businesses and financing.
Mr. President, we believe that you have the temperament, education and relevant experience and characteristics to be a good President. One can only advise to be aware of the negatives and reservations some people had, but never allow the negatives to hinder you from being a bold and decisive President. Carve your destiny and seek advice from all, including previous Presidents, as done in Western civilized nations, but let the “buck stop” at your desk (as one American President once said). When history is written it will be your responsibility if you are able to help Ghana move up to build a globally competitive and surviving nation like others have done.
We wish you all the best of luck and a successful Presidency.
Kwaku A. Danso, PhD
President – Ghana Leadership Union, Inc. (NGO)
Moderator –Ghana Leadership Union (GLU) global Internet forum