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Opinions Wed, 23 Aug 2017

Selfish, greedy and unconcerned: The Ghanaian in public service

There are many kind, affable and good people in Ghana; but there are wicked and greedy public servants who could care less what your needs are or if your car gets into an automobile accident! Some evil ones would even rejoice! Public servants have taken for granted the very people whose taxes pay them! Their interest is what they can gain from government but not what they contribute.

Ghana Government after government has made the civil servant feel like Lord and master, and reports are that public servants never get terminated!They hardly ever get disciplined. Some have enriched themselves by their work in government, especially at the Ports and Harbors, at Passport office, at Lands Registry and Records offices.

So why would I visit a Minister's office? You visit a Minister when executive decisions about special projects are needed.

A $200 million Housing Project in Ghana, fully financed by a New York capital company needed a repatriation guarantee letter. In 2011, try as I may nobody in government cared and 40 page detailed Business Plan to help solve the Housing deficit problem could not convince the CEO of HFC Bank to even give me a reply of interest or rejection. It was for a small loan to build the roads and sewage for a 100 acre site.

Some friends know the 2011 effort; a friend on our forum has a Medical Doctor friend of the new Minister. He came here and convinced me not to give up but try the Akuffo Addo government. His friend wanted to see good projects!

Let me share with you what I encountered this afternoon!

It is hard to imagine how selfish and unconcerned about people these politicians are! And what is worse the arrogance!

Their secretaries make them feel like Gods and no new idea will be accepted!

I just got back home with my Exec. Secretary and the Ghanain Medical doctor from New York. It is about 9pm having waited over 3 hours (4:15 - 7:30pm) at the office of this Minister to see him! We left around home around 3pm to be there on the appointment time of 4:30pm.

And can you imagine not even folding chairs for people to sit down in the Hallway! And they are on the 4th floor,, a good walk for me but not others as I could see. And about 20-40 adult people were waiting for their issues.

Granted we give the Minister credit for staying late since he is also an MP and went to Parliament before coming to the office,

Who do these people think they are? They are Lords over everybody?

And the Secretary would not listen to my suggestions about some simple chairs, repeating that there is renovation taking place and a reception room is being done! Simple human decency and comfort! And they watch as tired fellow Ghanaians stand on concrete floors for three hours! And at least two of them looked sickly.

Absolutely no concern! And No system at all for managing visitors. Why can't visitors sit in the waiting room on the ground floor and when their names or number is called they go and see the Minister. Do these people we pay use their good brains to think for us? No!

And then enter the Minister's office and Gosh! It is a Luxury suite with about 20-30 fine leather chairs, fine enough for the King of England, or President of a Billion dollar private company to envy!

How many people go at a time to see a Minister!!?

And yet the people coming to see him have no place to sit for 3 hours in the hallway!!

My brothers! These people think the people are stupid and they are Kings and better than everybody else! It is not fair to tag every Minister but most are of the same culture!

- They pretend to care to win elections and soon change their phone numbers.

- They will steal public funds through legal or illegal channels!

- They can have Businesses on the side, buy vehicles and equipment at dirt cheap like the recent case being exposed at the EC office; and

- Many of them get licenses to set up petroleum distribution or gas/petrol stations or contracting businesses for family members.

- What is worse they never even get projects completed to specifications, but get paid!

- Some will use companies they are Board members of to bid on major government projects!

You may call it public thievery but none seem to care or respect Ghanaians as equal humans. Can you imagine a sick woman waiting with us for 3 hours with no place to sit!

How more inhumane can humans in power be! And as soon as you enter their offices their Air condition is on full blast all day! With my AC on even only about 10% of the time and Split of same size I am paying about Ghs 1,500 per month! And part of this of course goes to pay for the government executives comfort while they look down on us! The Ministries don't pay electricity bills! Why? ECG is for government!

I am sorry my temper could not be controlled when the Minister tried to give me another round-around stories and told me he had two minutes for my presentation. Nana Akuffo Addo may mean well but implementation of ideas involve others and consideration of others! His appointed Ministers must learn to respect people also! Open minded but so far the chest thumping confidence is yet to be seen into Action!

One politically savvy friend in Canada has suggested the problem in Ghana is not due to lack of knowledge but rather greed and selfishness!!

Maybe he is right! Not even a chair for adult mature Ghanaians to sit on for 3 hours! Do they care?

All the best to Diaspora Ghanaians seeking to invest their money in Ghana!

Dr. K. Danso, Aug.21, 2017

Columnist: Kwaku A. Danso