Thursday, 3 October 2013

Ghanaians Deserve Better

Author's note: This piece was written on 20/9/2013. It is being posted today, because I was unable to do so on the day. Please read on:

Our ruling elites get a pretty good deal from the enterprise Ghana. They are  paid well, enjoy many perks and when they retire, are given what some argue are overly-generous retirement benefits.

In exchange for such handsome compensation packages, Ghanaians expect leadership that is world-class.

Sadly,  over the years since the overthrow of President Nkrumah in February 1966, some of the decisions made by our ruling elites have been  hard to fathom.

The controversy generated by news that documents covering the sale of the Ghana National Petroleum Company Limited's (GNPC)drilling rig, Discoverer, apparently cannot be traced,  illustrates this  perfectly.

At the heart of that controversy, is the fact that for some extraordinary  reason, those who were in charge of our nation at the  time, decided  to withdraw the GNPC's  legal team in a case in which the  company was being sued by Société Générale  in a UK court - against the advice of the British lawyers acting for the GNPC.

The bizarre thing, is that prior to the withdrawal of the company's lawyers from the case, the GNPC had won a judgement in its favour in a similar case in the US.

The question is: Why did the regime in power then, choose to withdraw the GNPC's legal team  representing the company in court - an action that paved the way for Société Générale to successfully obtain judgement in its favour: a decision clearly not in the national interest but  obviously favourable to Société Générale?

One doubts very much that were the matter in the UK court that they chose to withdraw from, one that was of concern to  their own private businesses, the very clever men and women then running Ghana, would have chosen to withdraw lawyers representing them  from a similar  case in the UK court - especially if,  like the GNPC,  they  had secured a verdict in their favour in a US law court.

Yet, for some curious reason,  the government of President Kufuor ignored  the fact that  the GNPC had won a similar case brought against it in a US law court by  Société Générale - which  in effect the GNPC  counter
-sued   for giving it bad hedging advice that led to the  loss of  substantial sums.

Why do our ruling elites take such strange  decisions that are clearly not in the nation's interest in such instances, one wonders?

Why, for example, did the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime of President Mills not consider asking the government of  China for interest-free loans for infrastructure projects - instead of the billions of dollars in commercial loans it took from Chinese banks to fund such projects?

And would there not be a dramatic change for the better,  in living standards in most of rural Ghana, for example, were ordinary Ghanaians able to elect district chief executives - as the concerns of those living in districts across the country,  would have priority in the agenda of every district chief executive in Ghana: not what favours  those at the centre of power in Accra?

Yet,   our ruling elites continue to deprive grassroots people of  the opportunity  to elect district chief executives.

Clearly, if they are to justify their handsome compensation packages, our ruling elites must be more protecting of the national interest - which at any given point in time is what benefits a  majority of the ordinary people in Ghana.

Our ruling elites must   work harder and be more creative at all levels: so that Ghana's economic growth benefits a greater number of ordinary people in our country. Ghanaians deserve better.

Tel: 027 745 3109.

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