This report of the massive Chinese loans, adding to the $10 Billion Korean housing deal, is a little bothersome. The Bible says a borrower is servant to the lender and are we trying to sell our nation to foreigners or what!
The report read:
“President John Evans Atta Mills and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, on Monday signed a deal for China to give Ghana a loan of three billion dollars to develop her energy sector. Specific areas to be targeted under the deal include infrastructure development, job creation and the development and other derivatives of oil and gas.” (Myjoyonline.com, Sept.20, 2010).
What infrastructures and what job creation is he talking about? Sure anytime you build infrastructures you use human resources and that is fine. However, how long are these infrastructures going to last? One year for the roads and potholes galore? What happened to the former Ministers who took bribes during the construction of some bridges? If nobody goes to jail for taking bribes, what makes the President think this will be any different?
The President said in a speech delivered to Abetifi Presbyterian University graduating class of 2009 that the graduates should stay home and not go overseas to add to the “unskilled labor” of Ghanaians overseas. I considered it an insult indeed and I offer a challenge to him that what he has signed with the Chinese is symbolical of a naive African who thinks by getting a loan from a strategically smart and well led nation like China, he is getting collaboration and so forth.
I hate to be blunt and prefer not to offend anybody but we have to tell the truth. Ghanaian are tired of the façade and failures of our educated elites in leadership who have no clue and concern for the suffering of the ordinary people having to buy malaria tablets for $9 per tablet, and ordinary car driver dodging potholes in residential areas at night with no street lights and also on highways! To be buying things from China, including Malaria drugs, when indeed for your own country you haven’t proposed any solution to the long term eradication of the root cause of the malaria, or think of funding your own research Bio-chemists, seems to me to be the mark of an unskilled leader with a shallow understanding of globalization and its forces at play in the international arena.
It will be nice if the President could showcase the list of projects and how moneys are going to be generated from these so-called infrastructures to pay back the loan. As I have said elsewhere, the one solid thing the Mills administration has done to show any sense of creativity as humans and educated folks, is increase the toll on the Motorway and some roads, and even then they don’t have the sophistication to display what the tolls funds are used for. One guy said, during a discussion yesterday as I went to Kaasoa, that they collect but nobody can account for it. Having said that one must add that the Mills administration does not have the sophistication either to stop building new open gutters, even though it can be argued financially that the cost of building a covered sewage might be the same or only slightly higher than the traditional ugly open gutters as shown. Today I saw some new open gutters being built in Adjiringanor, a nice residential area not far from the house of the former President Rawlings.
It is a shame that open gutters are still being built and one wonders if the President’s loan is to help build more of these! It takes some skills in understanding human nature, a mark of effective leadership, to let people, the taxpayers, know the purpose for which loan are procured, projects and their progress, and when tolls are being collected; and there are many thousands of Ghanaians overseas who could have told the President and his Ministers so.
I rest my case that Ghanaians overseas contribute more than remittances that have been recorded to be about half the total annual Ghana budget. I bet most Ghanaian overseas would know the health and other benefits of building a covered sewage, whiles creating jobs! At least 55,000 people are reported to die due to malaria in Ghana. What is the President’s solutions? Buy more malaria tablets from China? Huh!
Folks, this borrowing for everything must stop! If the Chinese wants to buy oil, why not sell them oil! It seems to be nothing new to us and Mills is only going to add to the accumulated debts burden and we can only pray that some infrastructures will be built, just as the fantasy “Asphalt-concrete” roads mentioned in the 1989/90 PNDC budget for road construction were never built and we cannot see them today! If our President and his Ministers are only interested in taking loans to pay off loans, and do not even have the skills to investigate and find out where the previous loans were used for, then I say let the President kiss his job and his people goodbye and resign or not seek a second term. Yes, it is alright to take a loan but projects must be very specific and must show a way of paying back the loans. Ghanaians need a new way of thinking that is creative, away from the begging mentality, and a mind that will help create jobs through industry and participation in the art of manufacturing some of what we consume and for the world, instead of importing Chinese malaria tables, perhaps 50% of which may be fake if we judge by the other electrical, plumbing and other products on the market in Ghana!
I am not impressed and I am not amused that Mills is further encumbering us in addition to what Rawlings and Kufuor did and we still have potholes on our roads and electricity cutting off in the middle of a meeting or dinner!
Dr. Kwaku A. Danso (writing from Ghana)
President - Ghana Leadership Union (NGO) & Moderator-GLU Forum
East Legon-Accra, Ghana