Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Is It Not Wiser To Let Private-Sector Entities Build, Own And Maintain A Self-Funded Road Network In Ghana?

Sometimes it is pretty hard not feel contempt for our system - and some members of our mostly provincial-minded political class and their foolish and non-productive arguments.

Do the struggles of the millions of disadvanted families that eke out a precarious daily existence not register on their radars at all - and prick their consciences?

It is monstrous that Ghana's vampire-elites manipulate our Byzantine system for the sole purpose  of enriching themselves and their cronies - at Mother Ghana's expense.

Such was my frame of mind as I stood  waiting at 23:45 GMT last night for the broken down vehicle I had borrowed from a relative  to be fixed. I also pondered  how fate had contrived to ensure that the preceeding hours of the day would  be wasted so completely.

So there I stood directly opposite the Toll Booth Police Station at Amanfro furious with myself for my predicament. Was I stoical about it? No. Livid, actually. And apoplectic, mostly, when I had to berate the geniuses 'fixing' the 'faulty' vehicle.

Gradually, my thoughts turned to a period that morning during which we went across  the overhead section of the Kasoa interchange,  and how although I wasn't an engineer, even an ignoramus like me, could see how poor the quality of the work and materials used to build it were - and one wondered  how the Ghanaian professionals supposed to supervise the work of the Brazilian construction company that built it had failed Mother Ghana so terribly. Zero integrity. Pity.

Without question if the company had produced the same poor-quality work in even the remotest part of Brazil,  its executives would have been prosecuted, and jailed,  for defrauding Brazil and its people in such egregious fashion. Definitely.

And looking at the cars paying to get through the series of toll booths in front oif us, I wondered how our vampire-elites succeeded in cleverly separating the collection of cash from motorists using roads in Ghana, from  the responsibility for building and maintaining our road network - so they could profit from the collection of cash paid by motorists forced to travel on poorly-maintained roads, many pothole-riddled, across the nation in public private partnerships (PPP).

Then it  suddenly hit me: If our leaders were half as imaginative, innovative and farsighted as the honest and dynamic leaders of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), our roads and other infrastructure would probably be built and maintained by private companies with their own money.

And those companies would earn income from collecting the cash paid at  toll booths - not the super-ruthless, crony-capitalists who finance ruling parties in Ghana: and are thus rewarded with  'lucrative'  PPP deals, such as the collection of cash from toll booths.

I had to smile ruefully to myself, despite being stuck  far from home at midnight because a vehicle I had been led to believe had problems with its injectors, was in fact just short of fuel. Incredible. Monstrous. And, totally unacceptable.

Yet, prior to our undertaking that day's "rounds" in the morning, some genius had actually been sent to purchase fuel for the said vehicle. Wonders.

Anyway, having  mercifully got all the petrol purchased into the fuel tank,  we proceeded to head for the tool booth to pay for the usage of the Mallam-Kasoa road to get us safely home again, to a much-welcomed even if cold bed.

It occurered to me, as I lay in bed ruminating after finally arriving home,  that if we had a system in which businesspeople built, owned and maintained roads and other infrastructure throughout Ghana, without having to pay any corporate taxes (including import duties), there wouldn't be all the noise on our airwaves about money owed the Ghana Revenue Authority, (GRA), by two of the businesses  owned by Ibrahim Mahama, MBG Limited and Holman Brothers.

That is because  he would not have had to pay even a pesewa in import duties and sundry taxes to clear his heavy-duty road construction equipment to build, own and maintain part of the nation's road network somewhere in Ghana's hinterlands - in a well-managed economy and well-governed nation in which private-sector businesses bid to build and operate infrastructure, with their own money, in order to make tax-free profits from. Food for thought.

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