Thursday, 22 June 2017
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Who approved CHRAJ boss’ rent pay?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 11:37

Anytime corruption is mentioned in Ghana, politicians, and especially government officials, become the easy targets.

Why not them? Because the impression has been created that it is only when you are a minister or a politician that you can make ill-gotten wealth or be corrupted.

As a result, many low-level officials in governmental institutions and agencies who rob citizens of Ghana daily for services rendered are left off the hook.

This country needs to have a different view of who is corrupt or more corrupt. These little guys at the ministries and other service points are bleeding the country and her citizenry to death. They have become untouchable and their type of corruption has become the norm. Nobody talks about it or questions these practices, so it has become the standard bearer.

Perpetrators of corrupt acts virtually had a carte blanche to do as they please because the authorities were unwilling to hold people accountable for wrongdoing in the country.

Some of the brazen acts of corruption witnessed were perpetrated with impunity because there was no cost to corruption; people know they will not be punished even if they are caught.

A litany of corruption allegations in the media has rattled many civil society organisations and anti-corruption institutions in the country.

There is so much impunity and lack of accountability in the society, coupled with ineffective enforcement of the law.

The case of the Commissioner for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) paying $4,500 for rent a month once again raises issues of profligate expenditure by a public official.

While society is blaming Ms Lauretta Lamptey, CHRAJ boss, the question is: Who approved that amount and who paid it?

It is a fact that Ms Lamptey cannot dictate how much she should be paid for rent. If the CRHAJ boss should be punished, the approving authority and the people who paid the money should equally be punished.

The actions of these people deny the state the needed revenue for development.

 People want to see action against corruption, and not committees investigating corruption endlessly and nothing being done.

Ghana has to be serious about corruption because some of these corrupt low-level officials are riding high flying cars and always have the audacity to accuse governments of the day of being corrupt.

Until corruption is tackled from the foot, whereby these leaches are ousted and punished, fighting corruption in Ghana will remain a mirage.

 

Erratic price changes must cease

Thursday, 18 September 2014 07:07

The continuous hikes in prices of food commodities and other essentials overnight appear to have come to stay.

It is worrying to say the least, to learn that prices of some food commodities go up  at least on weekly basis.

It will be recalled that some traders at the Tema station market in Accra last week expressed displeasure with the continuous price changes of food commodities and protested that the development was affecting the patronage from customers.

The traders in an interaction with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) blamed the situation on the current dollar depreciation.

The GNA quoted one Kwesi Twum, a trader as saying that people could not comfortably enjoy tea or any other beverage without incurring so much cost so customers have left these commodities to stay on the shelves.

He said the price of a tin of Milo was selling at GHȻ10.50 while the whole carton was going for GHȻ126 while a tin (large size) of Ideal milk sold at GHȻ5.00 and the carton selling at GHȻ150.

A carton of Oats sold at GHȻ80.00 while one tin is going for GHȻ 2.50, a carton of cubed sugar is going for GHȻ 54.00 and a carton of Lipton is selling at GhȻ67.00 while one box is going for GhȻ3.50.

The price of commodities such as tomatoes suffer same fate with onion going up due to the shortage causing an olonka to be sold between GHȻ 15.00  and GHȻ 20.00 while an olonka of red pepper sold at GHȻ 15.00 and the green pepper at GHȻ  8.00.

Madam Ama Fosua a yam seller said four tubers of yam sold at GHȻ 6.00. Tuna at between GHȻ 10.00 and GH₵ 25.00, while salmon went for GHȻ 8.00 and GH₵ 15.00 each.

The increasing levels of prices especially of food commodities indicate that the costofliving in Ghana is fairly high and is unlikely to let down anytime soon.

 Ghana's capital city, Accra ranks as the 128th most expensive city to live in out of the 214 cities analysed in this year’s Mercer Cost of Living Survey.

The state of the economy obviously is to blame for the frequent price hikes.  

But experts on economics have questioned the frequent reference to a high rate of inflation  without any research into reasons for the high rate and what could be done to cure it.

Undoubtedly, managers of the economy have a tall order to find a solution to the crisis of the unending price hikes of food commodities. But as a start they would do well to look into the nature of the supply chain and the efficiency with which prices are determined.

Simply there are market leaders who act as price setters and are thus able to set prices arbitrarily – with a view to widening their profit margins any time there is a price shock resulting from, say, an increase in petrol prices or utility tariffs- in the knowledge that other market operators will follow suit rather than use the opportunity to undercut and thus increase sales volumes.

Which is why, for instance, the prices of locally produced foodstuffs often go up faster than the cedi depreciates, not to talk of the general price levels in the economy. The result is that the prices at which people buy foodstuff  in urban markets is often twice or thrice the farm gate prices for those same foodstuffs.

 

 

 

 

Attack on journalists

Friday, 19 September 2014 09:33

THREE ugly events that occurred in Accra and Kumasi over the past fortnight against some journalists have dominated discussions on the media landscape.

The Kumasi incident, which occurred on Friday, September 5, 2014, had to do with the assault of Mr Daniel Kenu, Ashanti Regional Editor of the Daily Graphic, by some macho men allegedly organised by Baffour Gyan, senior brother of Black Stars’ captain Asamoah Gyan.

 

This followed a question by Mr Kenu to the Black Stars’ captain to clear the air of rumours making the rounds that he had ‘sacrificed’ his bosom friend, hip life musician, Theophilus Tagoe, popularly called Castro, who went missing at an Ada resort a few months ago.

 

On Saturday, September 7, 2014, the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, also called policemen to arrest the Joy News crew that had gone to Mensah Guinea, near the Arts Centre in Accra, to report on how the inhabitants were faring after city authorities pulled down their make-shift structures on September 5, 2014. He accused the Multimedia reporters of “coercing the residents to sleep on the ground to be filmed, to make the government look bad.”

Subsequently, the three – Joojo Cobbinah, a producer; his cameraman, Festus Jackson-Davies; and the driver, Felix Akonnor – were later to be charged by the police for “Offensive Conduct” while investigations continued.

Then last Friday, September 12, 2014, Adom FM’s Afia Pokua and two reporters –Shadrack Kofi Assan and Samuel Sefa – were assaulted at an NHIS office at the Ablekuma District.

Since all the three cases are now in the domain of a court of law, the Weekend Finder finds itself constrained to pass any comments on the substantive cases except to say that there are, indeed, very interesting days ahead.

But we must state here and now that we are, indeed, happy about certain pronouncements made on the matter by various individuals and groups. For instance, we find it most appropriate that stakeholders in the media industry have sworn to use legal means to fight persons who attack journalists in their line of duty.

The country’s 1992 Constitution guarantees freedom and independence for the media and any attacks on the media constitute an attack on the democracy itself. The Weekend Finder, therefore, wholeheartedly applauds and supports the move by the Ghana Journalists Association, National Media Commission, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association and the Private Newspapers Publishers Association of Ghana to stand united to fight this growing canker in our society.

On his part, Prof Kwame Karikari, a lecturer at the University of Ghana Department of Communications, charged the media to ‘blacklist’ public figures and institutions responsible for attacks on journalists in line of duty while Kweku Baako, a Senior Journalist, called for the outright firing of AMA boss Oko Vanderpuije because, in his view, his “arguments were an embarrassment as they were palpably false.” We lend our support to these suggestions too.

But while we wait for the pieces to fall into their respective places, the Weekend Finder would also like to associate itself with the alarm raised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) that “Ghana’s image as a country that promotes freedom of the press is being stampeded by violence against journalists.”

In 2014 alone, there have been several violations against media practitioners and, clearly, the phenomenon is fast becoming like the days of military regimes in the country, and the more such infractions continue, the bigger the harm we do to ourselves in the eyes of the international community and such an unhealthy development must be of great concern to all those who cherish our young democracy.

 

Ministers and Public Servants also Need International Protection

Tuesday, 23 September 2014 13:21

Let’s be clear with a bitter truth: members of football associations around the world are not angels and therefore need to be investigated once a while. Fortunately for them, some of these members who are just 'small fry' from unknown clubs have been able to turn themselves into very important personalities just because they have the protection of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA). Because of the protection they enjoy, no one is able to question whatever they do, even if it borders on criminality. Unlike others, especially public servants, ministers and Members of Parliament included, because they have no international organisation to support them, they have become open to all forms of investigations and probes. Members of local football associations could misuse funds and go free because FIFA will raise the red flag.

That is the reason why I have decided never to be a minister of state because there is no Federation of International Ministers Associations (FIMA) with its headquarters in Switzerland to protect me against investigations. (Let me be quick to state that no government has ever sounded me out for any ministerial appointment, but even if it had happened, l would have turned down the offer.) This protection, l believe, is important because it would give ministers the opportunity to work knowing that whatever they do would never come under public scrutiny.

That is the reason why I have always felt that public servants have become the whipping boys of the public because they have no international protection. The protection that football administrators enjoy through FIFA’s intervention allows them to operate without fear, even if it means mismanaging the public purse in the interest of football.  Because of the success that FIFA has chalked up in the area of protecting its own, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has also been able to use the same method and has been successful.

But the question is: What makes sports so special that its administrators are protected - as against others who also deal with the public? If FIFA and the IOC are able to protect sports administrators, is it not only good that those who are into political administration also get the same support from an international organisation set up to insulate them against any kind of interference?  What really makes football and sports administrators so important that they get this protection? Is it not sad that the world has remained silent for these international cabals to take countries for granted? If it is simply the suspension of countries, as FIFA and IOC have always preached when attempts are made to get local associations to account for their stewardship, why not let them do so? Take Ghana as an example. What exactly did we gain from the World Cup? Would suspending the country from any World Cup tournament bring about some serious damage to the country?  What happened in Brazil rather brought us shame and pure waste of government funds by those who organised our participation. Only God knows what will come out if ever FIFA agrees to any probe of itself and the various associations under it. Whatever they have done with the huge sums of money that comes into their coffers and how they organise elections of countries that host World Cup tournaments are issues that the public would like to receive answers to. Unfortunately, these will never be known. It is not enough to once a while throw in some small change to support football projects; what we would want to know is the bigger picture of exactly what has happened to money that has come their way. It is called transparency, which, unfortunately, the world will never get from these sports associations.

What makes the FIFA thing interesting is the way the local football associations are constituted. Some of the members come from small and obscure clubs, and after they have joined these associations, they become tigers that must not be touched. For instance, if l am able to use the platform of Srogbe Fishing Stars, an unknown club in the country’s football system, to become a member of the Ghana Football Association, l could end up becoming head of some committee, and no matter what l do, the FIFA flag would be raised to stop me from being investigated. Isn’t this a big joke? It is just like how Members of Parliament end up becoming ministers. A Member of Parliament from a constituency that no one has ever heard of suddenly becomes a minister because he or she is lucky to be nominated by government to serve in that position. This minster then becomes a very important personality and has the power to sign very huge contracts for and on behalf of the country. Unlike the members of the Football Associations, there is no FIMA to stop the government from investigating Ministers if there are allegations of corruption levelled against them. This is where I have my beef. Why should FIFA decide to protect one group of small-time administrators and the world community sit by without concern? We must demand the use of the same measure of transparency in all that we do. If politicians are not shielded, and in some cases when the perception of corruption is made public, officials resign from office, it is only fair that the veil is removed so that sports administrators become accountable.

There is no country where football association members have not been suspected of one thing or the other, yet it has not been easy to probe these people because FIFA says so. Sometimes I wonder how come the UN has failed to assume such a posture to be able to control governments around the world like FIFA does. If the UN has such power, it could have been able to stop opposition parties from calling for investigations against governments in power and this would bring about peace around the world because the people would never know what goes on in government and would therefore remain silent.

For me, it is simply discrimination if one group of people can be so protected for whatever they do in office whilst another is constantly harassed to be accountable. It is like sports is something that is more important than anything else in the world. It is about time the world found a way to bring FIFA to account for every pesewa that they have taken from sponsors so that the floodgates will be opened for local sports administrators to be probed also. Without this, the world would just be creating opportunities for some people to use the avenue of sports to do whatever they like, knowing that they are above the law and therefore would never be investigated for whatever they do whilst in office!

 

We are fed up with ‘dumsor dumsor’

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 12:38

Ghana is currently going through energy crisis due to the country's inability to meet its power demands, with estimates that it could cost the country’s economy millions of dollars.

The load-shedding exercise is also partly due to the low supply of gas from Nigeria.

This is not the first time Ghana is experiencing load shedding. The 2006-2007 crises took most Ghanaians by surprise.  

We have been here before, in 1983, 1994 and 1997-98, with increasing severity.

The troubling rationing system, the slowdown in industrial activity, as well as the job and income losses have all been faced by Ghanaians before.

Load shedding is resorted to mainly because of the demand-supply gap during peak hours. The situation can be managed to an extent by the co-operation of the consumers to flatten the load curve.

Consumption, which can be shifted from peak hours to other timeslots, can ease the situation.

Load shedding can affect a country's economy because it slows down industrialisation and affects people's lifestyles.

During the daytime, it affects commercial and industrial operations and, when load-shedding operations are in the evening hours, also affects students' studies.

Ghana currently has more than 2,800 megawatts of installed capacity, but only around 1,650 megawatts is available, due mainly to the lack of fuel --- aside expansion works and machine breakdowns.

Peak demand, meanwhile, is around 1,985 megawatts, according to the Ghana Grid Company, the power transmitter.

While its thermal plants are designed to run on either crude oil or gas, the VRA prefers using gas, since it is cheaper.

But the gas is not available; not even a fourth of the required 400 million standard cubic feet per day is available.

While supply from Nigeria has slumped to an all-time low, the processing plant for gas from the country's own Jubilee oilfield is yet to be completed.

Fuel, particularly gas, is increasingly becoming the most significant factor in the country's power generation as more thermal plants are added on.

Households are suffering from damaged appliances due to power surges, food poisoning and the inconvenience of noisy and polluting generators.

Desperation and confusion can be felt among people and businesses in Ghana - which is really bad news for the country seen as the beacon of Africa.

Families are also feeling the impact - going through financial crisis due to the laying off of workers.

People are fed up with the situation, and the youth in particular are losing confidence in the government's ability to solve the problem.

 In this regard, work on the Atuabo gas project must be completed on schedule to make the government’s vision of 5000MW installed capacity a reality.

 

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'Sika diee basaa, basaa' or prosecute them all

Friday, 26 September 2014 11:05

THE Co-ordinator of Human Security at the Presidency, Brigadier-General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, was right on point when he said on Citi FM, an Accra radio station, the other day that “he is depressed over revelations at the 2014 World Cup Commission of Inquiry.”

According to him, though Ghanaians complain that there is no money in the country, public officials have been spending huge sums of the taxpayers’ money frivolously.

The truth is that Brigadier-General Nunoo-Mensah is the only one who is fuming with rage. Many right-thinking members of society are equally bemused and are already advocating that persons found culpable of causing financial loss to the state be prosecuted.

Why not? The Weekend Finder is of the view that some of the revelations stink to the highest heavens and these are not matters that can be swept under the carpet.

To refresh the memory of our dear readers, it will be worthwhile to recount some the shocking exposures that were made. Here we go:

ONE: That some management members of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and other key officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports as well as government officials pocketed some US$82,500 each as Appearance Fee.

TWO: That an Angolan errand boy was paid US$19,831 in commissions by the Ghana 2014 World Cup Planning Committee for giving directions to a Brazilian supermarket where ingredients could be bought for cooking meals for supporters during the World Cup.

THREE: That the state may have been cheated of more than US$15,000 a day in payments to caterers alone during Brazil 2014. That, multiplied by the two-week period Ghana took part in the World Cup, adds up to more than US$215,000.

FOUR: The amounts agreed with the caterers for feeding the supporters was GH¢34 per day, but the amount pencilled in official documents was US$35.

FIVE: That the cost of foodstuffs bought in Brazil were inflated by the World Cup Committee, according to the Chief Executive Officer of Ambar Quality Foods Limited, Mrs Gertrude Quashigah.

SIX: That a huge amount of GH¢22,857 was spent in designing a special website to provide Ghanaians with information about the Black Stars’ campaign in Brazil, but the Chief Executive of Dominion Technologies, who handled the project, claims he was offered only GH¢5,000, of which Yaw Ampofo-Ankrah (a brother of the former Sports Minister) made an advance payment of GH¢1,000.

SEVEN: That even though the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) fully paid for friendly matches involving the Black Stars, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) had received payments from agents for the same matches.

Perhaps what is really worrisome is the fact that the rot (or ‘Sika diee, basaa basaa’ as a popular radio talk show host prefers to call it) is not only limited to arena sports. Shamefully, the canker is deeply rooted in many spheres of our national life.

Otherwise, can somebody explain why the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Ms Lauretta Lamptey, for instance, could spend a colossal $203,500 on her rent accommodation, including utilities at the AU Village between July 2011 and July 2014 while her official residence is being redesigned with several variations at her instance, all at a cost of GH¢182,000?

Again, can anybody justify the recent spending of GH¢40,000 by the Chief Executive of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly, Mr Isaac Ashai Odamtten, on the birthday celebration of some members of staff?

Or does it make sense that as much as US$600,000 was said to have been spent on the construction of a wall at Ghana’s Embassy in Burkina Faso as was revealed recently at Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting?

Or is it palatable that the Central Region Development Commission (CEDECOM) was said to spent GH¢220,000 of funds meant to develop the region on a fence wall for a graveyard?

We could go on and on, but suffice it to say that the moral fabric of our nation appears to have completely broken down. Some of our public officials and quasi-government institutions are only interested in looting the nation’s coffers without any sense of shame and this is not only alarming but highly embarrassing.

As a nation, we cannot sit unconcerned. We cannot behave like the proverbial ostrich and pretend that all is well. Difficult times, they say, require difficult decisions. It is time to haul all those found culpable before the law courts, regardless of their colour, race, creed or political affiliation.

For it is only in so doing that we can, as a nation, put some fear into would-be offenders, instil discipline into the national psyche and also win some respect in the eyes of the international community.

Weekend Finder cannot wait for legal action to commence and so too, we strongly believe, is the posture of our development partners, who have all these years provided us with multi-donor budgetary support, running into millions of dollars, to keep our economy in shape.

The ball is now clearly in your court, President Mahama. The whole world is watching and waiting --- and you dare not fail.

India’s Generic Drugs Face New Attacks

Monday, 29 September 2014 13:08

It is a sad thing for anyone to die because he/she cannot afford to pay for medicines. Not many of us would want to die that way. That is why those of us in the developing world should see India’s success in the production of generic medicines as a boost to our healthcare system. With India’s help, more and more drugs have become available and affordable. For this reason, any attempt to destroy India’s image by those who see making more money at the expense of our health as more important should be of grave concern to us. What is the point in paying for brand names when cheaper alternatives can save millions of lives?

It is understandable that there are some societies where making more and more money is what they care about; they do not worry when the needy around them die just because they cannot afford what they are offering.

I was therefore not surprised when India’s former minister of commerce, industry and trade, Anand Sharma, said there was an international cartel trying to destroy his country’s generic drug boom. At the time, some people thought he was just engaged in a public relation stunt to sell his country’s 'not-so-good' drugs to the world.

Recent events are proving that Sharma was right. In fact, he was forced to come out because of the way the international pharmaceutical cartel had labelled Indian drugs as sub-standard and in some cases described them as counterfeits. For a country that is trying to boost the exports of these drugs, it is just unthinkable that they would not care about standards. Indian officials themselves have strongly come out that their own people use these drugs and should be dying in their numbers if the quality was below standard.

Since the attacks on quality did not succeed, a new crusade has started. This time around, the sing-song is that generic drugs exported to African countries are lower in quality than those that the same companies sell on Indian soil. The researchers came to that conclusion after they claimed that they had conducted tests on 1,470 samples.

The researchers said two widely used antibiotics and two TB treatments made in India “are more likely not to have enough of their key active ingredient when sold in Africa, compared with the same pills sold in countries such as Russia and China.”

The researchers from the U.S.-based National Bureau of Economic Research suggested that Indian drug-makers may be sending low-quality drugs to poorer countries. They also claimed that “U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspections have found quality issues at Indian drug manufacturing facilities, such as faking and manipulating tests meant to ensure the active ingredient works as it should.”

According to a Bloomberg report, “the FDA has banned at least 36 manufacturing plants in India, including facilities operated by Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd (RBXY) and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (SUNP), from sending product to the U.S.”

What is funny about all this is that the researchers did not say which drug companies made the tested samples. In addition, the researchers, who were led by Roger Bate, an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholar, which is funded by the Legatum Institute and the Humanities Research Council of Canada, said they collected 1,470 products which they claimed to be made by 17 Indian manufacturers.  They also claimed that almost nine per cent of samples of the widely used antibiotic ciprofloxacin sold in Africa tested sub-standard, compared with 3.3 per cent in India and none in other countries.

It is interesting to note that the AEI, which was founded in 1938, is a think-tank which, according to internet resource, Wikipedia, has its stated mission "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and responsibility, vigilant and effective defence and foreign policies, political accountability, and open debate." It also described the AEI as an independent non-profit organisation supported primarily by grants and contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Given this, does one need to say more?

Besides all these poor quality cries against Indian generics, there is another fight from Europe and America on how Indians patent their drugs. It is however gratifying that the international medical  charity,  Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, has tried to defend India and  slammed the U.S. and its pharma lobby for exerting pressure on India over its patent laws, saying such actions undermine the global trading system.

“Every country has the right to take steps to increase access to medicines and implement a patent system in line with its public health needs. We strongly object to the pressure exerted by the U.S. on developing countries, including India, for using legal flexibilities to protect public health,” Rohit Malpani of the MSF recently told the US International Trade Commission.

For those of us who have become keen watchers of the international bashing of India’s pharmaceutical industry, MSF could not be wrong when they said they found nothing wrong with generics coming out of India. “India’s measures are fully compliant with global trade rules and with the laws of India. These attacks undermine the global trading system as well as the independence of the Indian judiciary, which was responsible for the decisions under discussion today,” Malpani said.

Again, according to Malpani, the measures India has implemented to safeguard public health are of critical importance to protect the health of millions of people across the world. It is for the role that the country has played that it has earned the nickname the “pharmacy to the developing world.”

It is not only India that is suffering at the hands of the cartel. South Africa’s minister of health, Aaron Motsoaledi last month slammed global drug-makers for a “satanic conspiracy” campaigning against the changes in its International Property rights. Motsoaledi said this was “a plan for genocide.”

His outburst follows South Africa’s attempt to implement a new law which would allow generic drug-makers to produce cut-price copies of patented medicines and make it harder for firms to register and roll over patents.

MSF – which has decided to face the strong U.S. pharma lobby, which, they said, had in the past one year launched a campaign against India – said relying on high prices for medicines backed up by intellectual property monopolies “is a flawed paradigm to pay for medical innovation.”

“It creates both access problems due to high prices – as we have seen – and at the same time it does not stimulate innovation for many of the diseases affecting people in developing countries, where patients have limited purchasing power and the private sector sees no incentive,” Malpani said, adding that “today we basically have a trade off between innovation and access. If you have wide access, says the industry, you aren’t supporting innovation.

“Instead of aggressively pushing governments, such as India, to ignore its legal rights under international trade rules to ensure affordable medicine prices, the U.S. government should work with India and other countries to invest in and develop new models of innovation and access,” he said.

Given all these, those of us in the developing world should read between the lines to know those who want to see us live and those who want to see us die in the millions just because they want to milk us!

 

Gold refineries when TOR has collapsed?

Tuesday, 30 September 2014 11:33

Gold gave this country its pre-independence name. The Cold Coast became world famous for its gold, and European superpowers fought for their share of the turf in order to gain access to the rich market in the interior.

Mining began in Obuasi in 1897 and is touted as one of the richest mines in the world.

The run-down sight at Prestea, Tarkwa and Obuasi tell a visitor every story about how gold has failed to inspire confidence in a population sitting on some of the riches of the world.

Unlike Pretoria in South Africa, where gold has aided the construction of the most beautiful city in the whole of Africa, gold in Ghana has only gone to enrich the budget of foreign countries, where shareholders' capital set up the various gold mining operations in Ghana.

Ghana produced a record 4.3 million ounces of gold in 2012, up from 3.6 million ounces in the previous year, after prices reached a record high in September 2011.

 The nation produced 107.9 metric tonnes of gold in 2013, making it the eighth biggest producer in the world.

However, the gold is exported without adding value. It is, therefore, welcoming to hear President John Dramani Mahama announce plans to establish two gold refineries to process and add value to the country's gold before exporting.

He said the establishment of the refineries would not only give the country better value for its gold, but would also create job opportunities for more Ghanaians who would be employed in those refineries.

 President Mahama explained that while one of the refineries would be funded by the Precious Minerals Commission, the other was a foreign direct investment to add value and avoid the perennial exportation of gold in its raw form.

The processing of the gold before exporting, he said, would reduce the risk of losing millions of cedis in the event of any fall of gold prices on the international market.

President Mahama said the refineries would also encourage mining companies to carry out their activities throughout the year, unlike the current state where most of them shut up anytime there are falls in prices of the commodity on the international market.

 While commending the President for this laudable move, The Finder will like to remind the President of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), which has been shut down for years now.

At a time when Ghana is producing crude oil in commercial quantities, TOR is as crucial as the proposed gold refinery.

Both refineries would go a long way to contribute to the country’s industrialisation drive.

 

 

Ghana in love with corruption

Wednesday, 01 October 2014 10:11

Corruption is rife under the Fourth Republic, according to a survey on ‘Corruption and Accountability’ by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

The result of the survey was determined by people’s perception of the extent of corruption under the Fourth Republic.

It noted that “up to 83% of respondents said corruption has been high under the Fourth Republic.”

Furthermore, about 83% of males and 81% of females agreed that corruption has been high under the Fourth Republic

In recent times, corruption has become the daily bread of public officials as the media is replete with stories on corruption on daily basis.

Just this week, the Auditor-General revealed that authorities at the Nurses’ and Midwifery Council invested GH¢2 million in Treasury bills instead of completing an office complex for the council.

The funds, released in 2011, were meant to continue with the office complex project, but instead of doing precisely that, authorities at the council invested the money in Treasury bills in violation of the law.

The report also revealed that the council paid an amount of GH¢31,222.80 to M/S Western Automobile Centre Ltd in August 2009 for the supply of one Nissan Urvan bus; however, four years later, the company was yet to supply the vehicle.

The report stated that the council failed to remit Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) and Social Security deductions of GH¢9,196.96 made from contract (temporal) employees’ salaries for the period under review to the appropriate authorities.

The Auditor General’s recommendation was that the accumulated statutory deductions, totalling GH¢26,874.11, should be remitted to the appropriate authorities immediately to avoid penalties and employees’ losses.

The Auditor-General’s report on the management of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund (DACF) and other statutory funds has revealed gross misappropriation of state funds to the tune of GH₵48.4 million for the year ended 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The areas of misappropriation included tax and procurement irregularities, imprest, unpaid loans and allowances for meetings from the Common Fund meant for development.

The way public officials misuse taxpayers’ money is alarming.

What is even surprising is that anytime such corrupt practices are reported, the public reacts angrily on radio, TV and in newspapers for few days and that is the end.

Prosecutorial institutions mandated to mete out punishment to culprits have displayed gross inefficiency in the discharge of their duties.

As a result, there is no deterrent for misusing public funds, a situation that seems to be fuelling corruption in the country.

The development is a dangerous precedent that could worsen the wanton dissipation of state resources and make the poor poorer.

Currently, one can only say Ghana is deeply in love with corruption.