Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A few Things President Mahama's Regime Could Do Before December 2016 - That Could Also Be Continued After January 2017 By Its Successor-Regime

I have often wondered why it never occurs to our present rulers to issue long-term government paper, to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) - to which government bodies owe nearly some US$1.2 billion or thereabouts - to settle government's indebtedness to the state-owned  power distributor.

Since there are boutique firms in Ghana's financial services sector, which can buy the long-term government paper from the ECG, at a discount, for cash, surely, that is a creative way for the present government to resolve the ECG's major problem: lack of cash to modernise its creaky infrastructure?

Another problem that the government of President Mahama could help resolve, is ending the havoc caused by potholes in many of the roads in Ghana's road network - which have caused countless fatal accidents, as the drivers of vehicles have manoeuvred to avoid them, and have ruined, and continue to ruin, the shock absorbers of millions of vehicles plying roads in the country - by promoting the simple technology of mixing melted plastic waste with bitumen to build plastic roads.

Plastic roads last longer than ordinary roads, carry heavier loads, remain pothole-free throughout their lifespan, and, because plastic is impermeable to water, won't get washed away by flash floods, during the rainy season. We could also climate-change-proof roads in Ghana by using that simple and cost-effective technology.

For that reason, why does the government of President Mahama not dispatch scientists from the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI), of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to India, to inspect plastic roads built by Jusco, a Tata subsidiary in the Tata steel city of Jamshedpur, and bring the technology to Ghana - so that road contractors can leverage it and build plastic roads throughout Ghana?

The BRRI could also collaborate with the Dutch company, VolkerWessel's road building subsidiary, KWS Infra, which is focusing on developing a hollow type of plastic road for the city of Rotterdam - and adopt it for constructing pavements and urban roads in Ghana. Because they are hollow and come in sections, that will enable utility companies to lay their cables and pipes, without ruining pavements.

And why does President Mahama's government not ask the State Housing Company (SHC),  to collaborate with the UK company, Precast Concrete Products Limited - to build well-designed prefabricated concrete classroom blocks, dormitories and staff housing for public-sector educational institutions, in record numbers and in record time, before December 2016, as legacy projects?

Could truly affordable housing not also be provided for ordinary people throughout Ghana using prefabricated building engineering systems?

And instead of allowing Indians and other nationals to come here to buy gold directly from illegal gold miners across the country, without paying any taxes to the government, why does Parliament not pass new draconian laws preventing that nation-wrecking pratice?

Instead of complaining about those Indian gold buyers breaking the law by buying gold from the countryside, could the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) not set up a website to sell gold online directly to buyers from around the globe - who would pay for any gold bought online from the PMMC to be sent to them by courier firms such as DHL?

Foreign buyers purchasing gold directly from the PMMC  could also visit Ghana personally to collect their gold.

And one envisions wealthy Chinese and other Asian nationals coming to visit Ghana to buy and take away gold - meaning that tour companies here could develop a lucrative niche serving high-spending tourists from  Asia: who could combine gold purchasing trips to Ghana, with elephant-watching safari trips to Mole National Park, traversing the forest canopy walkways in Kakuum and Bunso, and sitting atop crocodiles at Paga.

And come to think of it,  the Bank of Ghana could make billions of cedis selling gold coins with Adinkra symbols online, too - as well off Ghanaians pile into them as a hedge against inflation and as a veritable store of value in a nation with a pepertually weakening currency.

The Bank of Ghana and the PMMC can take inspiration from websites such as BullionVault.com and GoldSilver.com.

There is no reason why when the gold refinery starts operating, Ghana cannot become a global centre, for purchasing credit-card-sized gold bars. The sale of Adinkra gold coins and gold bars to foreign buyers will also help improve our balance of trade considerably - and help strengthen our weak currency more sustainably.

We will then end an iniquitous and monstrous system - in which foreign gold companies come to Ghana to mine gold, take away vast profits, and leave society to deal with degraded forests, poisoned soils and rivers.

And what stops the Volta River Authority (VRA) from collaborating with PracticalAction, the UK non-profit that builds mini and micro hydro power plants - to ensure that the mini hydro power projects Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's Convention People's Party  government planned to build before it was overthrown in the 1966 military coup, are finally built?
  
Finally, at a time when global warming is impacting our country negatively, should Ghana not be establishing industrial hemp (not to be confused with Cannibis Sativa, marijuana) plantations on marginal land, and on land reclaimed by small-scale gold miners? Industrial hemp can provide raw material for textile factories, produce biofuels, and be used as feedstock for biomass power plants, to mention just three of the many uses to which industrial hemp can be put. Incidentally, as many as 25,000 products are said to be made from industrial hemp.

Over time, it may very well be that dividends from the PMMC, reinvigorated by its online gold selling  business, could pay for some of the projects above.













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