The automation snafu uncovered at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), the state-owned and operated largest insurer in the country, occurred under the watch of the National Democratic Congress-sponsored tandem regimes of former Presidents John Evans Atta-Mills, late, and John Dramani Mahama. We learn that computer software meant to simplify clerical and administrative red-tape and paperwork, as well as drastically reduce the huge cost of running the Trust, actually ended up both complicating the work of SSNIT staff and administrators (See “I’m Still Paying Cash for Faulty $ 72 Million Software – New SSNIT Boss” MyJoyOnline.com / Modernghana.com 8/24/17).
What the SSNIT snafu critically underscores is the fact that the key operatives of the now-opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have been taking the Ghanaian worker and taxpayer, literally, to the cleaners for the past 8 years. Given another 4 years under former President Mahama, SSNIT would have been effectively bankrupted, if it is not already bankrupt, and the nation would have inevitably sunk back or relapsed into the pre-Kufuor status of a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) and been voraciously soliciting alms in order to barely keep its head and shoulders above the murky waters of grinding poverty.
We are told that the original contract cost the Trust some $ 34 million, having been bid on by some 10 software companies, it had been won by a consortium of two companies, namely, Perfect Business Systems (PBS) and Silverlake Consortium (SC). What clearly appears to have occurred here is that both the contractors and the SSNIT executives, between 2012 and 2016, when the NDC wielded the reins of governance, did not conduct due diligence to find out precisely what the proposed revolution or modernization of the administrative culture of SSNIT entailed, in terms of the implementation of the most appropriate software.
It is also not clear what breed, or sort, of contractual agreement was entered into by the two parties, namely, SSNIT, on the one hand, and PBS and SC software engineers or providers and installers, on the other. I make the foregoing observation because the astronomical ballooning of the cost of the original contract from a relatively modest but still remarkably high $ 34 million to $ 72 million, within the short temporal space of 4 years, ought to have been absorbed by the contractors, who clearly appear not to have met their contractual obligations or the requirements of the contract. In other words, it well appears that the additional cost of $ 38 million incurred after the original contract had been initialed, amounted to the contractors’ billing SSNIT for the former’s own gross professional incompetence. Some political scam-artists must be in the details of this broad-daylight mega-heist.
You see, the other day, a notorious foulmouthed NDC hireling wrote and published an article cynically demanding to know precisely who the proposed Special Prosecutor, whose work is scheduled to commence in October, will be prosecuting. Well, my simple answer to that butterball is that any political analyst worth his weight in salt, as it were, wouldn’t be posing such a patently asinine question. Then, again, whoever said that the most obvious answers are often obvious to such intellectual simpletons?
I have chosen to highlight the name of the Parliamentary Minority Leader, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, in the caption of this column, because until January this year, when the Mahama regime was resoundingly booted out of the Flagstaff House, the loud-talking and incorrigibly imperious Mr. Iddrisu was the Labor Minister. The SSNIT snafu fell squarely under Mr. Iddrisu’s direct purview and supervision. Well, since this story broke, Mr. Iddrisu has maintained a deafeningly deathly silence.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
August 24, 2017