Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has been distributing power since 1947. ECG has come under the hammer for privatization by the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Forget about the semantics of management and sale.
The NPP would probably tell you that it was part of the Millennium Challenge Acount Contract, under the management of The Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) to privatize this state control asset. Infusion of foreign money to make the so-called inefficient state enterprise efficient. Though for decades ECG has been working, they are of the view that only through foreign private control that will make it efficient. What indictment on our educated personnel who have been running the ECG for decades?
The NPP and for that matter the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would never tell you why the craze to sell the family silver. They are not satisfied that they have sold our telecommunications sector to the likes of Vodafone, our mineral and natural resources to foreign companies. Neither are they satisfied with their supervision of the ravages of our environment for minerals and destruction of our forest. The collaboration of the ruling elites has produced the poverty and deprivation that has been the bane of most Ghanaians.
The NDC has even gone to the extend of appealing to the US government to intervene in this PDS saga. According to them, United States tax-payers’ money is involved. It seems the NDC is so clueless of the neoliberal economic order. Neo-liberalism is championed, advocated and enforced down the throats of the third world countries by the US. The US use instruments such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) to maintain our dependency and control of foreign capitalist interest. The NDC out of office should have had a sober reflection and recognize that it their implementation of the IMF and WB policies and programmes from Jerry Rawlings, Atta Mills and John Mahama that have brought us the doldrums of misery and poverty and deepened our dependency on foreign interest and control.
Now come with the NPP continuing with the policies of the P(NDC). As forebears of the Progress Party of Dr. Kofi Busia with its origins in the United Party, it not surprising that they are busy naming institutions after their fathers and uncles. These “property owning democrats” will continue to loot and plunder state resources for their own interest. Throughs various devious means they have captured state power and using the instruments of the state to enrich themselves.
That is how we can explain the rational behind the 51% loot of 22 billion cedis assets of the ECG by powers at the heart of the ruling NPP government. Those who have looted or are in the process of pillaging the ECG should have been forgiven if they would use such resources with the profits that accrue to them to set up factories to create employment for the teeming young people. No that is not the method of operation of these elites. They would use what they have plundered for lavish lifestyles and invest their rents (profits) outside Ghana. What they have left they will use to build a Cathedral so that they can be laid in state when they die. And we should not forget they would use state resources for vote buying, patronage to maintain the state to continue to pillage and loot whatever little resources are left after their foreign “friends” have taken their undue share.
Let us come to the so-called mismanagement of state enterprises and virtues of private enterprise. If that is the case, does it mean that the PDS will be led by different species and not Ghanaians? Or do foreigners led control necessarily bring better management and efficiency?
It is important to state that an enterprise such the ECG is never managed by its owners. It is those who are paid who run companies like ECG. It does not matter whether they are under the control of the state or private individuals. Both hire people to manage them. When state enterprises are sold out to private people it is the elites who undertake such arrangements and annex such enterprises for their own benefit.
It is our “educated” elites who over the years have deliberately run-down state enterprises for their own benefits. The issue here is not that they will become efficient if you privatize them. You must set up structures and systems to overhaul completely the neo-colonial capitalist system that we have inherited and maintained from independence to today. Neocolonialism is the cause of our problems. Those who maintain such a decadent system are our so-called educated elites. They are beneficiaries of such a system.
If we restructure our society and understand that collectively we can make Ghana a place of social and economic justice with common destiny, then the inefficiency and mismanagement will be a thing of the past.
We should not expect that the NPP/NDC dyarchy who have signed on to the maintenance of the neo-liberal economic order will undertake policies and programmes that can lift us out of our dependency on foreign control and dominance.
That is why an alternative to the NPP/NDC is needed more than ever now.
(A Native Son)