G8 Helping Africa in food Production- Managing and Accounting for Ghana’s $600 mil.
By: Kwaku A. Danso
We have heard this story before but in a Ghanaweb article dated May 21, 2012, titled “President Mills: G-8 sincere in helping Africa improve food security”, we read that Ghana is still begging for help in food production. The Question is: How long will this continue? What do we do with such funds? Why is Singapore and Korea not at the conference begging for help for food production also?
How does Ghana and these other African nations monitor the aid this time will be used to produce food and not distribute $30-$50 to households in Ghana as Kufuor did just before the 2008 elections?
$600 million in aid for Food production in Ghana is a lot of money!! My Gosh! It can be used for lots of good work. But will President Mills and his team account for the funds? How do we make sure these are not going into the NDC campaign funds?
I am glad to see some private companies involved, foreign and domestic. Where can one see the full accounts in two years from now?
The President is quoted as having said there has been great progress in the last twenty years, and referred to
“the progress made by Ghana and the recognition of the country in addressing food security in the last two decades, as well as achieving the MDG One, which is the eradication of extreme hunger and poverty”.
We have to be honest and say that cannot happen without sincere and honest planning and leadership that is not asleep! Ghana is still importing more food, especially the packaged and processed food components, and many items we can process and even export. I buy plantain chips at local food stores in California. Why can’t part of the $600 million be used to help finance some companies to do Food processing that we evaluate to be of extreme human and economic value to the nation? $10-20 million can set up a decent sized factory! I know a friend on GLU setting up a health food processing plant in Ghana and he had to save for 2 years to get the $1 million to order the equipment from Canada. Again another 5 months for a truck that broke down. Why can’t such entrepreneurs get low interest loans from such grants?
All we need to see for accountability of such funds. We need in a public domain, the names of recipient and companies, loan amount, Purpose of loan, Interest rate and terms of payment and beginning and due date so that even after the end of the administration, these companies can be followed by succeeding administrations.
Alfred Agbeli Wayoomi – ABC Food Company, Tema. $20 mil 10 years. 5%, Jan 2013-Dec.2023 Monthly $212,131.
Kwame Owusu –Kokonte Production, Kumasi $10 million 10 years 5% June 2013-May 2023 Monthly $106,066
Alhaji Watusi – Tomato Processing Plant, Bolgatanga $30 million 15 years 5% Oct.2012-Sept.2027 Monthly $318,197
Assuming we need $5 million to administer the loan and pay for office and Management staff, Ghana can finance about 60 companies with about $10 million average financing each engaged in some food-related production in Ghana and help diversify our economy from reliance on raw materials such as gold and oil. The interest from the loans alone will make the system self sustaining. All President Mills has to do is be honest with the people of Ghana, be open, and publish these on the government Website to show integrity and honesty, and make it feasible for continuity by any other succeeding governments.
It is imperative the government works to ensure there will be electricity and water for the employees of these foreign companies since they cannot be expected to withstand what Ghanaians go through at neighborhoods where they can rent houses. Nkrumah built Tema Township mainly for foreign expatriate workers, but that time is past. All Ghanaians in our cities deserve good drinking water and electricity, as so also the people in the rural areas. It does not cost that much if our leaders and people are honest.
Another issue is to ensure that transportation from the farm areas such as the villages like Atadikan and Hwee-Hwee in Kwahu area and Affram Plains to Accra will not take a whole day and hence letting the food rot! Our roads should ensure 50-60 miles per hour average across the nation. $600 million is a lot of money and Ghana is still not able to account for such funds! President Mills needs to account for road and bridge tolls collected in the last 2 years and I challenge President Mills to account for this $600 million two years from now, be he in office or not!
Short and small details for food production management, and not merely talking of food production and poverty as empty political jargon!
Kwaku A. Danso, M.Eng., PhD (Organization & Management/Leadership)
Livermore, California, USA & East Legon-Accra, Ghana
President - Ghana Leadership Union (NGO), Moderator-GLU and GLF Forums.
Author: Leadership Concepts and the Role of Government in Africa: The Case of Ghana