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An American Visitor Writes ? But We Need To Build Our Ghana!

An American Visitor Writes ? But We Need To Build Our Ghana!

Sun, 16 Apr 2006 Source: Danso, Kwaku A.

It appears the letter published on Ghanaweb of April 9, 2006 was completely misunderstood and some people even did not get the message:

?Our first night was great as my wife and I got settled in and took a bath after the long plane ride. The next day we paid for the flat, for the time to April 1.

The location was great as we got around easily to the A&C Shopping Center, etc. After the first day we started to have water problems. We had to request the pump to be turned on, on a daily and nightly basis.? (American visitor to Ghana)

Some people who may not know Ghana or East Legon assumed that this $250,000 flats in East Legon with central Air conditioning, was like their village hut that we decided to rent to our American visitor, without water and electricity. The word PUMP implies that there was a reservoir system, but there is only so much one can do without community water. To expect that every house, flat, hotel, in Accra should have their own self-sufficient reservoir is the highest form of misunderstanding of the role of government in society. NO matter the hotels charge like New York city! Anybody who has crossed the ocean should have a little bit more critical thinking skills than that, and should question themselves why their water in Alaska, Australia, Canada, Singapore to the UK and USA should run 24/7 and in Ghana we accept the water to be on once per week. Somebody by name Tim wrote: ?Every Ghanaian knows we have always had problems with Water and Electricity?. Is that a good enough excuse for a society that will be celebrating 50 years of independence next year when other nations like Singapore, Korea and Malaysia are considered modern nations! Last year Ghana was given a grant of $103 million and took a loan of $500 million and it costs only an estimate of $250,000 water pump to supply water to a town the size of Tamale. Perhaps only 4 pumps is what we need for Accra but the government of Ghana, has refused to spend this money. According to the Chief Engineer of Ghana Water Company, whom I had a discussion with in summer 2004 during an exploratory research, there has been no expansion of the Ghana water treatment facilities and systems since the Nkrumah days, the last date being 1965. Moreover most of these towns including even some of the rural towns already have pumps and a system needing only an expansion of the community reservoir systems, a booster pump or repair. Government collects taxes from people like me who build houses and flats and are levied a flat monthly water rate, and pays 12.5% VAT on materials. If the government cannot supply water, then we must as well define that we don?t have any government anymore! Period! Why don?t we then go back to the caves if we are that dumb. Are we? Is that what you guys want to tell me who compete so nicely in European and American and all Western Universities, those at home with BA Hons. after their names? Come ooooon!!!

I have repeated this in other articles. The fact is that one does not need a loan to build water system for an areas like East Legon and in fact most of our cities and even rural towns like the Kwahu, Akwapim areas where people are already spending say $2,000 to $4,000 each to build individual water reservoirs, another $3,000 each to build septic tanks, and $5,000 for small generators for electricity. It costs $10,000 for a generator to supply the whole house or medium size office. Anybody noticed small ATM machines and every Bank in Ghana have huge generators! Why? What is the use of government? Who pays for the cost? You the same taxpayer! It is the height of insanity to call yourself a city or town and the people in the government simply go to work to be paid but have not figured out since 1965 how to expand water delivery systems! The district council and city councils have this role and responsibility! For the person who thought I had not paid my taxes, let me assure you that in Ghana you cannot avoid paying taxes if you buy materials or ship them. The VAT tax is 12.5% and if you estimate I spent 75% of the cost of the building on materials, at a modest estimate of say $200,000, then the 12.5% of the material [$150,000] is $18,750. Say there are 300,000 people in the section of town I am and we are 10 per household. That comes to 30,000 homes and each of them has a septic tank [called man-hole], a water reservoir, and many have generators. PLEASE TAKE YOUR CALCULATORS and work with me:

Taxes paid in building materials to government: $18,750 x 30,000 = $562,500,000

INDIVIDUAL Expenditures currently: Average on Water reservoir systems: $3,000 x 30,000 = $ 90,000,000 Average on Septic tank systems: $3,000 X 30,000 = $ 90,000,000 Average on Generators for say only 5000: $5,000 x 5,000 = $ 25,000,000 Total cumulative individual expenses = $205,000,000

As such we are already paying about $562 million to government and an additional $205 million because government is not delivering services!!

I want to make this short. If anybody feels we as humans are incapable of managing our lives, I would like to hear from that person to debate us on GLUForum@yahoogroups.com. If anybody thinks the flats shown in the above is some kind of junk village flats, let him think again. It was built with stucco paint at C330,000 per gallon compared to the standard emulsion paint at C95,000 per gallon. The water reservoir cost me about C15million and there is a well also at C9 million. I am shipping 2 generators, but I fee sick to my stomach!! We could all join hands together and acquire newer upgraded transformers, and expanded water treatment and delivery systems for the area. We cannot build a civilized society if everybody does their own thing as we see! Government leaders cannot add and subtract and only wait in line for their vehicles and house renovations. It is a major fiasco! We waste over $205 million in building individual systems in each town of 300,000, and still cannot cover our gutters and spend another $200 million perhaps on malaria medications and hospital expenses every year, including 200,000 that are reported to succumb to the disease! All DCEs, Regional Chief Executives and Ministers have failed and the President of the nation also has to bow his head in shame for not leading to implement the decentralization in the Constitution! We can do better!! I know the district Managers for our Water and Electricity at places like Legon have their hands tied behind their back because of the centralization of our nation! We need to work to decentralize and make each area do their own budgeting and taxation, what I call ?money Arithmetic?. And we need to have people elect them, not appointed!


Kwaku A. Danso, President,
Ghana Leadership Union
Fremont, Ca, USA & East Legon/Accra, Ghana

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.