I was shocked when last year the media reported Accra as the most expensive city in Africa. What I do when such news popped up is to verify, and after a few reading I found myself asking how did we get here?
Accra and many regional capitals and other urban towns have become so expensive to live in. From accommodation, land, food, transport and other social amenities. The question is why is it so?
I noticed that in Ghana, we don’t value people who set out to do the right thing. It doesn’t matter which facet of our life; it is in the church, our schools, offices, courts and even parliament. All we look out for is whether one has a lot of money and that person is accorded all the respect, they can commit crime in the full glare of the police and you will see people from all walks of life demonstrating for their release. Sometimes the police are even scared to arrest such people because of money power. It doesn’t matter how you get rich, you will be celebrated.
The reason for this precarious state in which we find ourselves is that we are all taking advantage of one another in order to look good and earn society’s respect, something we so much sought after. Go to any of our markets, shops and restaurants and compare the price of items on sale at these various places and you will be shocked; especially when you know how much the cost price of those items are at source.
I bought 250 grams of butter late last year from Maxmart shopping centre at their 37 branch for Ghc39; upon reaching home I checked and realized that the retail price of the butter in the UK where it was made was £1. Remember that was the retail price. So let us assume Maxmart bought the butter at retail price and even assume that the cost of shipping is another £1 and a profit margin of £1; this mean that the butter would have been sold at £3 which is equivalent to Gh¢18 at the time. Form this analysis; Maxmart was selling the butter 6times the retail price in the UK!!
A doctor friend sells bubble mattress (or is it roller mattress), the total cost of the mattress is ¢100 but he sells it ¢1,000 to his patients! Check on line for shoes and shirts from shops in Europe and compare the price over here taking into consideration shipping and clearing, the story is not different from the over-priced Maxmart butter.
Landlords are ripping tenants off, Estate developers are giving throat-cutting price, banks are making it big on killer loans to workers and politicians are also milking the nation dry. It is like we don’t have any shame as people anymore.
Even our family members expect us to steal from our employers so as to get rich quickly, they call it being smart. So if you work in the same institution with someone known to the family and you are on the same salary and yet you are not living a flamboyant life like your colleague; because he is probably engaging in some illegal deals that gives him more money for his ostentatious life, or has a side business, family members will descend on you, calling you names because to them, you are a fool. Where are our values? Are we not ashamed of ourselves? Sincerity has become a very scarce commodity in our everyday lives. Even the tomato seller in Madina market will put rotten ones at the bottom of the basket, followed by smaller ones and a few big ones on top as a bait to attract you. The cycle goes round becoming an unending one.
We are actually in a chaotic state as a nation because everyone is doing what pleases them and no one cares! It is so frustrating. Are we happy? Are we so weak to change for the better? I weep for this nation.
Buy watermelon and split it open and your house would not be able to contain your anger and frustration because the natural red colour of watermelon has changed for Ghanaian melons to light pink or white! The Agric and Trade ministries will quickly put measures in place to meet standards demanded of us by European consumers of our fruits and vegetables and other cash crops but those ministries do not care whether the standards of what is sold in the local markets to Ghanaians are good or not because European lives matter and ours don’t. I have never seen a people or a country that hates itself, its own people like Ghana, it is as if human lives (Ghanaian ones) are of no value to us.
Someone buys over-aged vehicle from Europe or America and is operating a transport service, DVLA officials knowing very well the car is over-aged, but would still go ahead to declare it roadworthy! These cars ply the roads releasing thick black smoke or sometimes white smoke chocking other road users but nobody cares.
Having nicely crafted laws on the shelves without implementing them is of no benefit to anyone, needless to say. It is time for the central government to crack the whip on whoever is responsible for all the sectors that are in ‘coma’ and ensure that things are done right! Ghanaian lives matter.
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The writer is a Ghanaian insanely in love with Ghana to a fault
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