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Opinions Sun, 27 Oct 2019

Pasico Ghana shutdown and the fundamentals

“There is no business plan that says the business will not work,” says my mentor.

Pasico Ghana have done their best, and failed, and the government of Ghana through the Ghana Revenue Authority has shut down their operations this week for non-payment of an estimated 4.8 million cedis (close to a million dollars) tax revenue owed over a period of time.

This is the government of “The private sector is the engine of growth” mantra.

Some years ago, I wrote an article commending Nana Akufo-Addo’s visit to Germany as an opposition leader.

He was welcomed by Angela Merkel and other German officials.

In the said story with the lead “Germany is the home of technical education,” I praised Germany’s technical efficiency and was hopeful that a presidential candidate was taking time off the local campaign scene to go and learn.

At the time the Atta-Mills administration at least publicly did not complain about why an opposition leader was being given such courtesies.

It now appears Nana Akufo-Addo may have good ideas and convincing rhetoric but something important is missing.

Is it that he associated with the creme de la creme but did not imbibe enough?

This morning my younger son asked me: “Daddy what is the meaning of the song ‘School no go me?’”

I explained over breakfast that when we were in the university people boasted that they “will go through the university but will never let university education influence them”.

Some even boasted that as Christians even though they were studying philosophy and anthropology they would never let what they were reading change their minds.

It can happen to the best of us- perhaps even Nana Akufo-Addo, the young boy who met President Nkrumah, and who later became president; it can happen to all of us.

Will Angela Merkel sit down and watch a 100 year old company go down like this?

Any observant person who drives around town can see that Pasico has invested in new equipment.

Whether they have finished paying for it or not, we do not know, but clearly you can see the transformation.

If the business books say the percentage spread of revenue from Toyota’s various lines of business and other top thriving businesses are changing significantly about every three years, we can observe that Pasico is varying the sources of its revenue just by seeing what is hidden in plain sight.

The Pasico of aluminium window frames has evolved into crane and overheard train technology for mines and ports.

According to the company’s website, its major clients are Newmont, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Anglogold Ashanti, APM Terminals, Bollore and Group Five.

In this kind of economy what else is a boy to do again apart from lobbying family and friends for contracts, and getting their approval for payments to his company ahead of all the sister companies in the same predicament?

It is the ghana way….then you can “flex” in town as an astute business man, a savvy captain of industry until things go belly/tits up…oops!

All of a sudden there is no paddle when you need one and the stench is overpowering.

Reading between the lines, surmising economy-wide, industry-wide and company wide analysis, it is clear that “The fundamentals are weak.”

Have they not always been weak in this economy that employs smoke and mirrors to explain its results?

As my mentor will say, “As for the fundamentals they do not change. These other things are only used to confuse those who do not know anything.”

We hope PASICO reopens soon and no jobs are lost.

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Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah