Has Ghana been shortchanged in this Ameri Group and other deals?
By Cletus D Kuunifaa
This idea that the moon is round, fufu is round, banku is round, so therefore, the moon must be made of fufu and banku must be ridiculous to reason about in the face of this Ameri and other contracts. Government officials have entered and negotiated contracts without due diligence only to regret for trusting blindly. Or is it that they are in full knowledge of their actions believing that the moon is round, fufu is round, banku is round, so the moon must be made of banku and fufu? How insanely stupid they have hastily concluded!
Let’s read this article in a nonpartisan, honest and in a patriotic way. Let’s read this article putting the interest of Ghana first before partisan politics.
Our country Ghana deserves better, yet she has not benefitted from the self-serving diversification programs in the past, never benefitted from the kick back and presidential initiative politics era, and surely is not benefiting from the colossal judgement debts nor the doubling of cash portion of contract deals currently unfolding.
Next March, Ghana will be 59 years old. If we were to compare and match Ghana with some of the Asian Tigers in the race towards development, it would be glaring to ignore how tired Ghana is in the race or how ill-prepared she’s been for the race as compared to the Asian Tigers.
Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore has often been cited as a modest breakthrough in development. Note that this country is a tiny island without major natural resources; Yet it ranks high on key measures of national social policies. It leads Asia, and 9th globally on the Human Development Index, including education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety, housing (http://www.yoursingapore.com/about-singapore/singapore-history.html). Should we not be ashamed of the fact that Singapore gained independence later than Ghana from British rule, would be 51 years old, next August, and Lee Kuan Yew would lead this third world economy to a first world affluence in a single generation? How come Ghana is lagging behind to match these countries in spite of being blessed with all the abundant natural and human resources that she possesses?
The answer is not farfetched at all; Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s emphasis on rapid economic growth, support for business entrepreneurship and a vision for all to rally behind was the answer to this fast paced developed economy. But more importantly, the nation’s core principles rooted in effective pragmatic incorrupt governance and the civil service have been noted for its rapid development. Indeed, Gallup polls noted an 84% of its residents expressing confidence in the national government, one of the highest ratings recorded. Lee Kuan Yew prosecuted an agenda to the benefit of all. The citizens of Singapore used ingenuity and creativity to build their country. They were not kleptocrats nor did they say one thing and did the other.
This feat chalked by Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew, if we juxtapose that with Ghana, is by far the opposite scenario in Ghana. The economic outlook of the country (Ghana) is not good news; stunted economic growth, fiscal deficit, high inflation and the general macro-economic instability are symptoms of a poorly managed economy. Some economists even suggest the problem is self-inflicted. Our savy finance minister Seth Terkper told Parliament recently that the Cedi, the nation’s currency, has so far depreciated by about 14% against the major trading currencies this year (2015), while Government’s own assertion that agricultural growth has fallen from 4.6% in 2014, to a far lower rate of 0.04% in 2015, is a clear indication of the failure in addressing agriculture and the needs of the farmer.
It must not be at any slightest opportunity of contracts from start through its life span, be it in the aftermath of the stadium disaster, the flooding, Ghana at 50 celebrations, the World Cup in Brazil, and the many more other contracts that government officials would want to exploit.
Much worst, over the last four years, Ghana has been experiencing severe shortages of electricity for domestic and industrial use. The power crisis is very debilitating in the country. As the Norwegian newspaper VG reports, as sun sets, everything goes black every day more and more often and for longer periods of time. It’s a desperate situation as electrical systems are damaged, food stored in freezers rot and businesses go bankrupt. In 2014 alone, Ghana lost over two billion dollars due to the national power crisis according to a report from Ghana’s largest University.
On account of the power crisis, it would be gross display of unpatriotic behavior on any government official to want to exploit an already worsened power situation granted this story is verified and confirmed to be true. How offensive and totally outrageous it would be for Ghanaians, if a power minister decided to self-serve and in so doing Ghana being allegedly shortchanged?
If confirmed to be true, the laws on causing financial loss to the state are clearly written, pure and simple, and by now we have had stares decisis to be cited in the precedents of politicians and officials causing financial loss to the state and serving jail terms.
Folks, doubling of cash in a contract deal is a bad deal. Any government official having reached this point in a contract delivers a bad deal. Surely, the Ameri Group contract would have been well intended to deal with the power crisis, but if ordinary folks like you and I are worried about the modus operandi of the contract smack of shortchanging Ghana, then a full scale investigation must be launched into this alleged dubious contract. Power minister must proof to all Ghanaians that he has not caused financial loss to the state.
While the explanations and arguments of the sector minister regarding this contract appear to be moot, his actions regarding same require more investigation. The mere fact that a dubious character, a wanted individual by INTERPOL is involved in the contract informs how dubious the deal is if finally established that the amount has been doubly overly inflated.
Who will be the beneficiaries of the inflated portion? And the questions keep coming; Why was the contract rushed through parliament? Why couldn’t government buy outright at a lower cost? Why the silence over this in the budget? Why misinform on the civil works and on other ancillary cost in this contract?
Investigations must look into this specific contract and where financial loss is caused to the state, the culprits must bear the brunt of the law for what’s good for the geese must be good for the gander in the situation of causing financial loss to the state.
Literally speaking, if some individuals served jail terms for causing financial loss to the state, it beats my imagination that that did not serve much deterrent to some greedy individuals who are still bent on nickeling and diming Ghana to their benefit.
If the President wants to leave a positive legacy and become a hero, the right thing must be done.
At least, President Mahama’s era has witnessed the establishment of massive gas infrastructure at Atuabo in the Western Region that has ushered Ghana into an era of energy diversification never before witnessed in Ghana. And the numerous power projects under construction during his era designed to substantially increase the energy generation capacity of Ghana and to permanently fix the problem of power outages in Ghana will truly be appreciated by Ghanaians as they begin to come on stream. This, I believe, the President would not allow any self-serving politician to obliterate his vision for the country. President has a challenge to do the right thing to leave the positive legacy that we all expect him to leave behind.
Cletus D Kuunifaa
Can be contacted at email@example.com or follow him on twitter @ckuunifaa