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29.04.2014 Opinion

Sneaking It Past You And Me

By Daily Guide
Sneaking It Past You And Me
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And it is hot.  I spend most of my parking, seeking Neem and Mango trees just to stay out of it.  I called Meteo to see if there was any historical reason why it should be so hot this time of the year, but they have budgetary constraints and could not tell me anything until they received some money to buy fuel for the generator.

So where the gas processing plant at?  I thought we were going to be commissioning it by the end of this month?  That gas would flow from Atuabo and we would be able to power the generating plants, give us cheaper supply, but even more importantly, regular quality current and voltage.

This time Armah Kofi Buah, still in the energy seat, is silently hoping the heat will move up north.

I have been looking at some stories about Nigeria this week, makes me ashamed to be a Ghanaian.  I console myself with the fact that I am not part of this Government, 'because were I to be, I would be mortified.

Nigeria is devolving contracts ($40 billion this month) to local contractors and implementing good policies to make it worth an African brother's time to feel the economy in the back door.  I read a really wow roll out of their Agriculture plan and that convinced me that they have made a decision on the EU-ECOWAS partnership.  It is a sneak attack because they will be ready when they decide to export to the EU.

Venture out, read what is happening in Nigeria and Ivory Coast, and South Africa is not only about the Pistorius trial.  Unfortunately, Ghana media are not showing enough interest in other West African countries and how they are tackling the same problems we are masking.  It is time to see our market as the wider Africa and not just Accra to Bole Bamboi via Iran.

We trapped another potential GYEEDA scam this past week.  Mr. Kobby Acheampong and his team at the discredited youth agency tried to pull a fast one over now very 'RLG-alert' Ghanaians.  It is easy to get a few over our President, but not so the 'whatsup' people.

I mean you can land a plane in Iran and come and lie to us about how the passengers were on a private trip, even if it included a Minister of State, whose identity is closely guarded by Minister Ayariga and his deputy Ofosu Kwakye, who claimed for the purpose, that the minister was a ghost name.

But you cannot advertise a GYEEDA ICT module in the April 3 rd edition of the Daily Graphic, make the closing submission date 30 th March and expect us not to notice.

The President has purportedly pulled the plug on the advert, but is that all?  Mr Mahama what about the fact that Kobby Acheampong totally disregarded your instruction to discontinue all GYEEDA activity and resolve the legality of the institution?  What about the Better Vocational idea that some of us say GYEEDA should be scrapped completely and funding made available to existing institutes?

My GYEEDA petition is still sitting on a charred table at CHRAJ, where we hear the bastion of our human rights does not have any money to investigate.  Government still has not given money to fix the burnt down portions of the offices that went down and my last visit there showed a really abysmal state of affairs.

It is coming across like Government is either deliberately starving the critical institutions of cash so they cannot perform their functions; DACF, GETFUND, ROADFUND, NHIS for starters, or this Government is simply not capable of managing money.

I think they should decide which alternative describes them better, since this is a choice of one or the other.  I think it is deliberate.

But it is also very possible that the money is taxiing in the pockets of party stalwarts or party coffers.  It makes me wonder again whether the Electoral Commissioner is ever going to ask the political parties to publish their financial statements so we can see how much money they are using for what purpose.

And Koku Anyidohu voiced his wanderings in the Asomdwe Park wilderness, looking for his demised mentor Prof. Mills whose voice has been whispering to NDC party members to elect Koku as the Deputy General Secretary of the party.

Koku has been talking to President Mills' grave, and he actually felt secure enough to come on radio and say so.  Isn't there a place in the Dodowa forest where we welcome persons who do that?  And he might become the deputy secretary of 'Our Great Party'?

He swears he will never dishonor his party by refusing an appointment, if called.  I think between him and Anita De Sosoo, there is cause for alarm in the country.  If you include Duncan Williams, Ras Mubarak and a couple of others, you have a serious problem.

So Kobby Acheampong and his GYEEDA squad tried a sneak attack with an advertisement that defies the President and the law.  Why is Kobby Acheampong still sitting in his chair?  If the President is not sure where to find him, I can help.  I know where the GYEEDA office is.

And because we still have the Assibit and Abuga Pele trial in limbo; they have joined the queue behind Agbesi Woyome, sole Judgment Debt Commissioner Justice Apau found a voice to rope in the support units in the judiciary as part of his corruption struggle.  I actually think if he brings them into his net, he extends his job by another year or two and gets to keep his stipends and allowances.

And between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Ministry of Finance, they managed to give the banks a free ride to scare all of us, including themselves, of the horrors of trying to sneak in a goods and services tax as a Value Added Tax.

This week has been catastrophic in the 'where to put my money' options.  If you commonsense what was on the table for discussion, we would all draw our money from the banks and keep it safely under our pillows, less 17.5% VAT.

That would make nonsense of 'Papa Boy's' campaign to save money at Barclays Bank.

For those of you who lived through that great advert era, Papa Boy was a household icon, a bastion of savings in Ghana for a long period, before we started creating core and non-core banking services.  VAT on cash?

This backdoor approach to raising undeserved revenue from Kofi, Ama and Nananom is causing far more damage than this Government realizes.

We cannot tax every income source twice and expect the people of this country to stay buoyant.  My only conclusion is that we look goofy still, yet something tells me we will have the last laugh over politicians.  New guidelines and explanations are scheduled throughout May.  We wait patiently. It is beginning to feel like war.

Politicians and civil servants on one side and the rest of this country on the other, in a tug of VAT, corruption the biased referee, praying Government to win so their team can collect its non-gratuitous pickings on the sideline.  But we no go sit down make dem bilk us.

So what are we going to do with the EPA on the table staring us in the eyeballs?  The President was quoted during the week as saying we will go with ECOWAS.  Tells me he has not grasped the gravity of what we are faced with, because why on earth would we attach to a trade bloc that is completely dysfunctional and cannot even liberalize its borders?

Could it be because he is now Head of the ECOWAS regional body he cannot be seen to be going against the bloc?  Is he thinking 'Ghana First?'  As far as the EPA is concerned, ECOWAS is a dead goat.  It has no bleat in this partnership.  Ivory Coast has signed; Nigeria is looking after its own self.  The remainder countries are mostly Least Developing and will be favored anyway.  It is a tough decision for Ghana, but it is made simple by elimination of options.

Ghana, Aha a ye de papa.  A lius valde week advenio . Another great week to come!

 Sydney Casely-Hayford,  [email protected] mailto:[email protected]


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