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20.02.2006 Feature Article

Ghana For Sale - Analysis Of Loans And Grants To Ghana

Ghana For Sale - Analysis Of Loans And Grants To Ghana
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Greetings to all readers on this Ghanaweb, the most effective medium for participatory democracy for the good of mother Ghana. Our leaders seem to be obsessed with loans and grants from foreign donors. Sometime back, the loans and grants taken by Ghana stood at $718 million. This was made up of $403 million in loans and $315 million in grants. The government calls it external inflows, as if they have made some productive exports and gains and are now reaping the profits. The so called inflows of loans and grants will increase to the tune of almost One billion dollars this year. These are from- a) DFID- Department for International Development, the UK Government Department responsible for promoting development and the reduction of poverty; 2) CIDA, the Canadian International Development Agency; 3) DANIDA-Danish International Development Agency; 4) USAID-United States Agency for International Development and many other donors.

You may notice that anytime a foreign dignitary visits a government official, the same request for assistance and begging for money becomes the order of the day. Our leaders tend to enjoy the dependency status, thus they wish the inflows continue all the time. Realizing this problem, a good President will examine ways to lower the dependency on loans and grants, which can become a way for officials to siphon money.

These loans are accompanied by underlying conditions that can make our economic recovery difficult no matter the debt forgiveness. If the leaders are smart, they will accelerate the conditions for land reform to a market economy so that capital can be accessible to the average individual to become an independent capital owner. On a national scale this will be the democratization of access to credit and ownership supported by an expanded ownership strategy throughout the national economy. Instead of working with these greedy chiefs to transform our land into a market economy, the government supports these chiefs to take loans and grants from the World Bank. Now every chief wants to travel to the USA and Europe or Asia to look money. They forget that by reforming the land tenure system and expanding property ownership, individuals will have access to credit and can come up with the ability for alternative revenue financing. This will open the way for partnership with foreign investments using the private sector to develop infrastructure, large scale commercial agriculture such as pineapple farms, cocoa farms and shea butter for commercial exports. These types of alternative financing needs attention and examination because it will provide the ability to accelerate road construction and new infrastructure projects that might otherwise take years to implement if they were to depend on funding from the loans and grants. Rather we waste too much time under the cover of macro economics and empty shallow talk of African Peer Review Mechanism while the lack of accountability and deals goes on because these so called leaders don't get it.

Anytime I drive around Accra, I look at some of the beautiful and posh houses in East Legon and others areas, I wonder how come people including a few civil servants and the so called Chief Directors at the Ministries and their private sector cronies can afford to build these huge houses from their meager salaries. It is therefore not surprising for the Deputy Finance Minister, Dr Akoto to tell the nation there is money in the systems and that Ghana is doing well judged from the posh cars on the streets and big houses being built. This is nonsense to the worst degree to come from a government official. How can a Country develop in this new era when you have this Senior Minster with his colonial economics and the shallow minded Dr Akoto managing the economy. Donors including the UK, have poured billions of Aid, Grants and loans to Ghana, but there is nothing to show for it. We have seen a few roads and some schools but where has all the rest of the money gone? Rawlings and Kuffour? Rawlings and Kuffour? Rawlings and Kuffour? Where has all the money gone? DANIDA, USAID, DFID, why are you so insensitive and hapless to give all these loans and grants to Ghana without adequate checks and control.?

How can jobs be created when our whole attention is to beg for loans and grants. There is a real sense to believe that corruption remains a way of life, especially in government and business. From Rawlings to Kuffour, there have been reports of shady deals in the executive and legislative corridors demanding a need for a vocal condemnation of these vices. In the absence of a Freedom of Information Act, it is difficult to assess and check what the public officials are doing, therefore when they use mother Ghana to take these loans no one can challenge and find out what has happened to the money. There are reports of top public officials and their private-sector collaborators consistently reported to be involved in shady deals, setting up consulting companies to take advantage of these grants and loans. Fellow Ghanaians, the time has come to rid Ghana of the crooks and criminals in the society. In a country, where the daily minimum wage is very low and not enough for families to survive, they travel to Dubai to buy Mercedes Benz and import artificial turf grass from US and Europe for their lawns that aggravates our continued deficit in the balance of payments. It is noted that Ghana total exports is estimated at around $2.9 billion whilst imports is $4.2 billion.

Compilation of all the loans and grants from USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Denmark, France ADB European Commission. shows that in between 1996 and 2006, the Government of Ghana has taken in $1,074,995,869 in grants and loans. . The data on loans to Ghana can be obtained from Development Gateway. Below are some of the loans and grants taken by the Ghana Government. Among the noted ones are the following:

● A 446, 230 British Pounds sterling for the Senior Minister Office. Mr. J. H. Mensah, with his old and anachronistic economics.

● $78 million literacy projects taken by Rawlings Gov't and continued under Kuffour.

● $30 million for a Snail Development Project taken by Rawlings and continued under Kuffour.

● $19 million for an Inland Valley Rice Project-Kuffour.

● $33 million for Monitoring and Analysis-Kuffour.

● $30 million for livestock development project-Kuffour.

● $52 million in Aids response project-Kuffour.

● $15 million for Central Institutions-Kuffour.

● $11 million for Business Support Instruments-Kuffour.

● $4 million for Payroll database under Kuffour

● $3 million for Public Enterprise Reform under Kuffour

● $53 million for Ghana Health Grant under Kuffour

● $52 million for Aids Response Projects under Kuffour

● $13 million for Cashew Development Project under Kuffour

● $10 million for Multi Donor Budget Support

Source: Development Gateway, AIDA.( for technical reasons, the massive spreadsheet table of the loans and grants could not be published on the web. Since there is no public information, accountability or access to information on how these loans and grants have been granted and disbursed in Ghana, we the people will go ahead to the courts in the respective donor countries to file for a freedom of information from USAID, DANIDA, CIDA, DFID to show cause on how each and every loan or grant is being disbursed, checked and monitored.

I was an observer at a National Governance Workshop last year, where it was noted that bribery corrupts the economic system. At another event last year, one Ms Anna Bossman, Acting Commissioner for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), said " top officials in public institutions must exhibit the political will to eradicate corruption in their own institutions for the anti-corruption initiative to succeed. This political will must be manifested in action and not in statements; must be translated into financial support; provision of logistics and quality personnel with improved conditions of services to attract and retain qualified staff. Ms Bossman was speaking at a day's workshop organized by CHRAJ for Directors of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for their inputs into draft guidelines on Conflicts of Interest" This just fell unto empty ears.

On December 30, 2005, The World Bank Country Director, Mr. Mats Karlsson said, “Ghana has no reason to complain about difficulties in managing its economy because it has all the resources for accelerated development at its disposal……...Mr. Karlsson said money had to be managed well and accountably and the country and the people should now move away from how much money came in and be more concerned with how efficiently the funds were being used. ………"It is part of the corruption issue and I don't want to mince words on this: it is still a real issue," Mr. Karlsson stated. He said the development partner inflows steeply increased from more than $600 million in 2002 and were projected to hit $1.2 billion by the end of next year.

The world is developing at a breakneck speed, but the present and past Ghanaian leaders are incapable and unwilling to eradicate the poverty, hunger and unemployment on the streets. We have the resources, but we don't yet have the will and imagination to harness these things to higher purpose, than to become beggars. Why are we over dependent on loans and grants to build a Presidential Office and Residence. There should rather be a fund set up for Ghanaians to donate to build a Presidential Palace. The government can also set up a competition for Architects to design the Presidential Palace so that it will be a designed and built by the people and funded by the people. Thus the visionless and wrong policies of the government with the empty slogans and the lack of transparency and information continue to destroy mother Ghana. Fellow Ghanaians, our society has changed and in this modern era of IT, differing and opposing views to the Government is good for the nation, to correct wrongs, provide check and balances and put the leaders on a right track I do thank all those who tried to visit me in Kumasi. There have been so many mails that it is not possible to reply everyone. Also since my investigative journalism seem to hit the areas that pain the status quo most, I have to be careful who is inviting me to lunch or who wants to see my Afro hair and pants. We should all reject exploitation and call for better choices and the strength of all because there is potential for everyone. It is not late for the so called gentle giant who is now asleep to wake up! (Any reader who needs the detail table can also contact me by e mail and I w ill send the spreadsheet whenever electricity is available) Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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