09.04.2022 Feature Article

Being Organized as a Society- How Chaos and Poverty Occur

Being Organized as a Society- How Chaos and Poverty Occur
09.04.2022 LISTEN

The importance of address location or property identification may not be obvious to Ghanaians and Africans used to cash-and-carry transactions. However in Business there is what is called “credit”, meaning buy today and pay tomorrow!

We have similar systems in our traditional business transactions. The concept of “bosea” (loan) and “firi” (borrow and pay later) in Akan language are not new. I remember my mother without formal education and without any Excel spreadsheet could give her shoes and other items she retailed to people on credit to be paid later. But it was based on trust and knowing where these people lived. That mother of mine (may she RIP) could do Math in her head and today I wonder why we educated folks cannot collect taxes from the rich but always targeting the low-hanging fruits provided by foreign telcos with the Momo account systems.

For those not familiar with business outside Ghana, let me share that most modern business transactions take place by credit- where items are shipped and sometimes paid within 30, 60, or even 90 days after receiving the items.

Ghana cannot leapfrog how business is done in the world; and it is time we ate some humble pie and stopped the political gamesmanship of talk-talk and opened our minds and learned some new tricks and strategized in sincerity.

It is hoped some don’t get offended if I say we are living in chaos!! I started another book with similar title some 10-15 years ago, but shelved it since it would appear too much like washing our dirty linens in public!

But for God’s sake it’s been 18 years and we’re still seeing choked and utterly bad smelling open gutters in so-called affluent East Legon in Accra, with restaurants next to them. Contracted Zoom Lion also seem to be proving not reliable even as a private company which has managed to win almost all garbage collection business. Ghana does not seem to have anti-monopoly laws! But even with a sole service provider Quality of Service can be maintained!

Being organized has some serious advantages for a society. You won’t believe this but since being in Ghana this year I was so desperate with getting my abandoned central AC units working that I went online and selected 2 Units in the US, with total pricing close to $5,000 range. And what I want to share is that there was a company that approved me, within minutes online, for payments of 90% of the total cost, so I could pay in installments over 12-24 months!

How does that happen?

Simply by entering my basic company or personal name, locational address in the US that fits into a model for verification, plus my contact number!

Excessive pride and lack of humility stands in the way of knowledge acquisition. It’s been 65 years and Ghana today has still not learned to disclose openly loans we take, the amount, interest rates and payment terms. We have today about 80% of all we can produce per year, aka our Gross Domestic Products (GDP), going to pay off loans. No! Ghana does not need to leapfrog anybody to do business with the world. We need to learn what others have done to succeed.

The Christian Bible has said clearly (as also one finds in other religions) the consequences of not being humble to learn.

“Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instructions, but he that regardeth reproof shall be honored" (Proverbs 13:18)

In Ghanaian culture, men in Government positions were looked up to as having assumed the Colonial Master’s role. They were thus the “big men”, the “know it all”. Our colleagues who went into Government became so self-centered and greedy and developed this defensive and arrogant posture that those of us who went overseas to study and to work and gain valuable experience were called “unpatriotic”. They like to go into the rooms without us. We know now they went to cut deals to sell their nation!

A culture therefore developed in the last 42 years since the PNDC era (1982) where Economists would assume full dialogue on technology and machinery without any Engineer in the room. The culture has remained till today when our Economy has hit a lowest point under President Akufo Addo. Huge loans piled up without disclosure and sinking all of our nation into debt! Akufo Addo’s Ministers have obviously not learned enough from their colleague “abrɛfoɔ”. We see they keep repeating the same mistakes of being duped by the Broni white man we do business with.

The last funny but sad thing: we don’t even have a system how to collect commercial real estate taxes and neither even residential real estate taxes. Sad but truth be told!

This is an example of what the Bible talked about. I wish somebody would pass this on to our VP they call Dr. Digital!

Enjoy the Saturday.

From East Legon,

Dr. K. Danso (Apr.9, 2022)