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19.04.2020 Opinion

Troubleshooting The Partisan Distribution Of COVID-19 Relief Items & More...An Institutional Diagnosis Of NADMO And MASLOC

By Kofi Asare
Troubleshooting The Partisan Distribution Of COVID-19 Relief Items & More...An Institutional Diagnosis Of NADMO And MASLOC
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COVID-19 continues to present to Ghana an opportunity to review and reflect on how certain key state institutions clothed with the mandate of delivering essential services to all Ghanaians have failed the political inclusion test overtime, casting doubts on their preparedness to deliver essential services to all Ghanaians irrespective of their political affiliations during this Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath.

Two of these heavily politicized institutions are the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and the Microfinance And Small Loans Centre (MASLOC). Remised on the above, Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) was introduced by the Government of Ghana to assist MSEs to overcome their bottlenecks towards contributing significantly to economic growth and development. MASLOC was set up in 2006 by the Government of Ghana as a microfinance apex body responsible for implementing microfinance programmes aimed at reducing poverty,

creating jobs and wealth across the country. The principle underpinning MASLOC is that micro credit serves as

a key strategy to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and in building global financial systems

that meet the needs of the poor (Littlefield et al., 2003; Simanowitz and Brody, 2004 in Quansah et al, 2012: 3).

MASLOC is a scheme which holistically addresses the challenges bedevilling the SME subsector by not only

providing micro credits but also business advisory services, training and capacity building for MSEs to manage

their businesses profitably. Facilities from MASLO

remised on the above, Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) was introduced by the

Government of Ghana to assist MSEs to overcome their bottlenecks towards contributing significantly to

economic growth and development. MASLOC was set up in 2006 by the Government of Ghana as a

microfinance apex body responsible for implementing microfinance programmes aimed at reducing poverty,

creating jobs and wealth across the country. The principle underpinning MASLOC is that micro credit serves as

a key strategy to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and in building global financial systems

that meet the needs of the poor (Littlefield et al., 2003; Simanowitz and Brody, 2004 in Quansah et al, 2012: 3).

MASLOC is a scheme which holistically addresses the challenges bedevilling the SME subsector by not only

providing micro credits but also business advisory services, training and capacity building for MSEs to manage

their businesses profitably. Facilities from MASLO

MASLOC was set up in 2006 by the Government of Ghana as a microfinance apex body operating under the Office of the President, responsible for implementing microfinance programmes aimed at reducing poverty, creating jobs and wealth across the country. Established in 1996, NADMO is mandated by the NADMO Act (Act 517, 1996) to manage national disasters and emergencies, while providing relief to the affected persons and communities. However, over the past decades, the management of these two state entities have been overtaken by partisan interests of ruling governments, virtually metamorphosing them into political party offices where state resources are dispensed for partisan benefit.

On November 23rd, 2011, when the ruling NPP was in opposition, the NPP Member of Parliament for Ablekuma North, Justice Joe Appiah lashed out at the ruling NDC government for disbursing MASLOC loans to mainly foot soldiers of the NDC. According to him, MASLOC has been turned into a job for the boys by the ruling NDC as loans are accessible to only NDC party faithfuls. The allegation, as usual, was refuted by the then NDC government.

On 3rd July 2015, The National Women’s Organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, alleged that the provision of transport allowance of GHC 200 to displaced residents of Sodom and Gomorrah by NADMO was on the basis of political affiliation. She described the act of sharing the money to only NDC members in the community as wicked and sad, after which the then NPP Presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, came to the rescue of the 53 stranded residents of Sodom and Gomorrah. [Graphic Online; Ghanaweb, July 3rd, 2015] The allegation was refuted by the then NDC government.

Last week, in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, two NDC Members of Parliament, Dr. Zanetor Agyemang Rawlings [Klottey Korley], and Dr. Oko Vanderpuije [Ablekuma South] criticised the ruling NPP government for the preferential sharing of government’s food relief meant for vulnerable people to only NPP supporters. According to Dr. Vanderpuije, he actually lodged a complaint to the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection that food intended for the poor was being distributed in NPP vehicles under the direct supervision of the NPP candidate for his constituency. Both allegations have been refuted by NPP government.

Lessons from the past and present suggest both parties only admit the two institutions are partisan when they are in opposition. The stark reality however, is both NADMO and MASLOC are political party appendages used to serve the interest of their members when in government. Infact, anytime there is a change in government, all directors and other key staff at the national, regional and district levels are sacked wholesale and replaced with party supporters who were promised these positions during the campaign season.

The politicization of the institutional framework of NADMO and MASLOC does not only lead to the diversion of public resources for partisan gain and incumbency abuse especially during political seasons, but defies the directive principle of state policy in the 1992 constitution which stipulates under article 35 (3) that, ..’the state shall promote just and reasonable access by all citizens to public facilities and services in accordance with law’.

Parliament has just approved a GHC 600 million facility for disbursement to small businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Listening to the submissions of His Excellency, the President on this fantastic intervention, I asked myself: ‘Is this money also going to be managed by MASLOC? If yes, the assurance of a partisan disbursement of such a huge amount in an election year is not uncertain.

In the short term, a more non-partisan state agency like the NBSSI should be mandated to manage the GHC 600m COVID-19 SME support facility to assure Ghanaians of a more inclusive disbursement. The efficient management of this Fund has serious implications on employment and job sustainability for Ghana’s informal sector economy which employs about 75% of the country’s labour force.

The ministry of gender should immediately delegate the distribution of food under the Covid-19 response to the Department of Social Welfare which is a non-partisan department with the credibility one requires to ensure an equitable, non discriminative distribution of food to the vulnerable as we combat Covid-19.

In the medium to long term, as we approach the next general elections, both NPP and NDC must commit to implementing the new law (enacted in 2016) for NADMO that sets it up as a Public Service Organization like the Prisons Service. This commitment must be actualized in the very first year of the next administration. A similar law should be enacted to give a Public Service status to MASLOC. Let’s commit to building strong public institutions to serve the state, not political parties.

Kofi Asare

Social Development Advocate

Executive Director, Africa Education Watch

Twitter: @asareko79

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