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01.03.2009 Political

Where is the Money, Mr. President?


I live in a town of about 10,000 people. I was the only one in my family to have university education. I studied hard to get a degree in mechanical engineering. It was my dream to become engineer and I so I became one after four years in university. I started looking for job immediately I left school. I wrote a number of applications to companies and received assurances that when vacancy comes I would be called.

After months of waiting I decided to open my own shop but needed a seed capital so I went to the banks only for them to ask me to provide a house and some other things as collateral security which a just graduated is not expected to have. In the end I could provide the collaterals and I could not open my workshop for lack of funds. I waited throughout the years without a job and my shop so I decided to go into subsistence farming.

Then one day while in a friend's house watching television (please note that I do not have TV in my room) I heard the Minister of Finance reading the budget and telling the ministries and departments how much they were going to receive for the year. I became very hopeful when he gave the figures for the ministry of Employment, ministry of Roads and Transport, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

I was happy for the figure quoted for Employment Ministry because I said the time has come for me to get a job. I was also happy because throughout my town the roads are in very extremely bad situation. They are impassable during the rainy season so I said it is also the time for my town to have the roads condition improved. My happiness and joy for the Ministry of Energy stem from the fact that even though my town's population is about 10,000 we are still not connected to the national electricity grid and most of the folks in town use batteries for their energy needs so I said this is the time for my town to get connected to the national grid.

Then the friend asked but why are you so excited about the money for the ministry of environment and I said, “Can't you see the numerous environmental problems that we face in this town, we don't have litter boxes and the absence of waste bins is creating an epidemic?” This budget is providing funds for towns like ours to deal with these problems.

He nodded and said but how about the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. I said look here boy, this ministry is going to provide we the farmers with improved seeds, provide us with tractors and equipments for us to expand our farms and increase our outputs. Food stuff is too expensive because we can only farm on subsistence basis. We don't have the equipments to expand our farms, we rely on nature for rain because there are no irrigation facilities, no seeds, and no credit facilities despite the abundance of rich soils. Then he said you have really spoken let us wait and see.

So we waited hopping that I was going to get a job, that the roads in the town were going to be constructed and resurfaced, that the town was going to be connected to the grid, that the environmental problems and the epidemic would go away, and that the farmers were going to receive help and increase their output in order to bring food prices down.

At the end of the year I was still unemployed and depending on my small farm, and none of the problems facing my town and the farmers had been solved. So I went to the Ministry of Employment to find out about the money only to be told that it had already been used to create jobs for people in the country. I said, “But I am unemployed?” What did you use the money for? The official said there was money for his ministry and all that he could tell me was that it had been used to create jobs but could not tell me which jobs were created and how many.

From the Employment Ministry I went to the Ministry of Roads and Transport to find out about the money too. I was lucky to meet the minister himself so I asked that in the budget his ministry was given money for the roads in the country but my town was still without any functioning road. The minister explained that the money was received alright but had already been used to provide roads for the towns and that was all that he was prepared to tell me.

In the ministries of Energy and Environment I was told the same thing that monies had been received and used.

I was able to meet an official who was prepared to tell me what is going in the country. I gathered that it is now the norm in the ministries for monies to be released today only for it to disappear tomorrow. The official said I could have been employed and my town could have received all the help she needed but because of corruption in the ministries and departments there is no chance that I would ever be employed. He said most of the monies are in Switzerland, Britain, Jersey Island, Luxemburg, Cayman Islands and Australia.

He said the chance of my town ever going to receive money to solve her numerous problems is one out of hundred. As for the farmers the best he could hope for them is that they will have to wait for another century. He said the country has great potential to become a developed country but massive corruption is preventing that to happen.

In the face of this I would like to ask the president of the republic and his ministers to tell the people of the republic where they have put our money. We need it to build the schools, hospitals, roads, irrigation, provide energy for our towns and communities, build the infrastructure of the nation and provide jobs for the youth.

Note to the reader: This article is a scenario which fist every country in Africa. It is estimated that $148 billion leave Africa every year through corrupt practices. Corruption is a major cause of Africa's under development. One of the ways we can fight it is to blow the whistle wherever you are, name and shame those involved.

By Lord Aikins Adusei