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....Or are we all the same as Ghana?)

....Or are we all the same as Ghana?)

Sat, 2 Apr 2011 Source: Danso, Kwaku A.

Power is out in California! Is this an April fool Joke! (Or are we all the same as Ghana?)

Power is out this morning here in my area in Livermore, California, USA! I live

part time in Ghana and so this is my first wake-up reminder since I left Ghana

end of November 2010.

Humans everywhere have similar problems, and it takes humans, engineers and

managers, working diligently and in honesty to solve such problems and maintain

decent living standards for people. Yesterday a Ghanaweb and media reported the

interruption in power and water services due to some repairs in the Accra-Tema

area. I heard this a few time every year I am in Ghana, including only last

August-November 2010.

My Gosh! The power outage has taken more than 10 minutes no as I write! What's

going on!! Beautiful morning with no storms!

Who said America is perfect! Who said we don't have the same problems like Ghana


Our Chief Director of Ghana Roads and Highways will be happy who asked me when we

confronted him last October 2010 in a conference room, and he retorted "Even in

America, don't they have potholes on their roads!"

Well, here you have it!

Enjoy your day wherever you are! And have fun on us! This can't be an April Fools'

joke - it's 6:30-7am, and people are up going to work. The neighbors' houses are

also show power out and there are no major storms in this area! It promises to be a

beautiful day, no rains, and about 80 deg. F.

Well, there is always a first! It's been 2 years 9 months since we moved here

and this the first power outage. It took almost 2 hours and the problem has been

fixed. If you want it in percentage delivery it comes to say 23,998 hours

on-time, out of the 24,000 hours in the 1,000 days. That gives 99.992%. The

off-time percentage is thus 0.008%.

If there any reason a nation like Ghana, after 54 years of independence, and

having trained Engineers for all these years, in the same classrooms, who know

the right things to do, cannot deliver close to what is considered normal in

the modern era?

According to my investigations, inquiries and actual conducted research over

the last 7 years living part time in Ghana, the problem is not technical but

pure corruption at the high levels! Moneys allocated for equipment are never

used and usually diverted! A major portion of East Legon, an affluent suburb of

Accra, the capital city, has so much power outages almost ever house has a

generator, in addition to a water reservoir system.

Folks, this is a shame in the modern age. I remember having to drive my car

around the neighborhood, when the electricity was out for several hours one

evening just to charge my cell phone!

This week in the news the ECG, the electricity company of Ghana which hired a

foreign company in 2006 to manage electricity, is talking about electricity

outage in the Tema to Accra area to repair some equipment. We had a similar

outage with similar excuse or reason three times when I was in Ghana from August

to November. I hear these every year I live in Ghana from 2004 to 2010.

Whatever happens to massive loans for water and electricity as one so-called

democratic government changes hands, and each President start travelling to

procure loans to pay interest on old loans!

Some have suggested the oil money will save Ghana. Our calculations show it

might help us balance our accounts of today, provided our government leaders

learn to budget, to cut government over-bloated staffing and spending on luxury

vehicles, furnishings and benefits, and show sincerity to solve the electricity,

water, and ensure high speed communication in Ghana is delivered at affordable

prices to most offices and homes who demand them. We must add the poor roads and

heavy traffic problems of our cities!

Doing business in Ghana and with Ghanaians teaches many lessons in the last few

years too many to list! A book might do justice. Fact our leaders must note is

that almost all businesses in the modern world use electricity, communication

and transportation systems. Planning should take into consideration air

conditioners in a tropical country where temperatures can reach 90 deg 6 and

higher and very humid. No decent business can compete fairly when basic

utilities like water, electricity, modern communication systems are unreliable

and communication and Internet use, even at low speed, cost two to four times

what others pay in their countries. In addition, deliveries and transportation

will take half a day to cross a 10 mile distance! Valuable opportunities can be

lost if cannot compete if one is too slow! This is basic common sense!

It is time our government, the President, his Ministers and Directors stop

giving excuses and deliver results as found in other nations, if not America and

Europe, at least model our development Agenda after nations like Singapore and

Korea! Talk is not going to do it! The MPs, Ministers and government executives

want to be paid $8,000 (or Ghc8,000) per month in addition to benefits that may

exceed another $8,000 per month average with free petrol, vehicles, etc. This in

a society where an estimated 87% live under $2 per day.

It is a shame how selfish our people in government can be, even if one does not

add the corruption behind the scenes, as is well known in our society! And the

sad irony is they are not delivering results close to 1/10th what their

counterparts in say the US do to lift the lives of their society and people!

God bless our Ghana and her people in these hard times! God bless America and

the rest also!

Dr. Kwaku A. Danso

(President Ghana Leadership Union /Chair & Moderator GLU Forum)

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.