EDITORIAL: Where Lies Our National Priority?
There was a report over the weekend that the Export and Import (Exim) Bank of India, has extended a USD 150 million loan to four African countries, for financing imports of goods and services from India.
A credit line of USD 27 million to Mali under the arrangement was said to be for 'carrying out rural electrification programme and financing export of agricultural machinery and tractors from India to the African nation.'
An official of the bank was reported to have said, "The USD 33.5 million loan to Congo is for setting up a cement plant, export of buses and for rehabilitation of manganese mining activities."
That to the Congo was said to include, 'USD 13 million for setting up a cement plant, USD 12.5 million for export of 500 buses and USD 8 million for manganese and diamond mining activities.'
The loan of USD 26.8 million to Ivory Coast was reported to be for, 'agricultural programmes and assisting urban transport system under which the country would import buses from India.'
The loans were said to be under the 'India Development Initiative' of the Indian Government, which supports exports to many developing nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The report reveals that, 'The Export and Import (Exim) Bank of India has extended a loan of USD 60 million to Ghana for building a Presidential house (Peduasi lodge) costing USD 30 million and another USD 30 million for rural electrification.
It is our hope that the report was not accurate, otherwise how on earth could one justify at this stage of our development, the acquisition of a USD 30 million loan for the building of a presidential mansion?
The projects or uses to which the other countries benefiting from the facility are putting theirs, clearly paint a picture of governments striving to improve on the socio-economic lives of their people.
The difference in the priorities between these countries and ours does not portray us as a serious people, considering that we were the trailblazers in breaking the shackles of colonialism.
There is no need enumerating the hydra-headed problems facing this country and how its people struggle to survive in an economy that threatens to throttle them.
There is no need referring to the overflogged issue of our hospitals needing better equipment to save the lives of the masses who cannot afford to fly overseas to get cured or even die comfortably there. The youth of this country seem to see no direction in life as it seems there is no comprehensive programme for their sustained development.
All these hinge on good leadership and judicious use of our scanty resources.
We are therefore bound to be a laughing stock to other countries when they realise that we are using ours to sponsor luxury. For, at this stage that our unemployment levels are high and even the few existing factories are collapsing, one would have expected that we should be thinking more of how to sustain our industries than the comforts of our political leaders.
How can we justify this, when putting even half of that part of the facility into a productive venture would go a long way in reducing our unemployment rate and improve the living standards of many?
It is our hope that government would come out to clear the air and assure Ghanaians that the report is not true.