Friday, 16 June 2017

An Old Fool's Two-Pesewas To The Geniuses Who Run The NDC

So one of the big ideas chosen as the path to the rejuvenation of its structures  and return to power  by the National Democratic  Congress (NDC), is to set up a training school for party members? Wonders. How absolutely brilliant.  Hmm, eyeasem o.

This blog's humble advice to the geniuses and bright sparks in the NDC who dreamt up that la-la-land big idea, is that whiles busy teaching their members the tenets of social democracy in the party's training schools, they must also not forget that it is actually the so-called "floating voters" whose crucial votes now win power for political parties in the Ghana of today. Haaba.

The question is: Precisely what life-changing and life-enhancing ideas do the NDC's genuises have up their sleeves, which will enable their currently unattractive party to attract sufficient 'floating voters'  willing to cast votes for the NDC's candidates in presidential and parliamentary elections - instead of voting for candidates of the other parties on Ghana's political landscape? Hmm, Oman Ghana - eyeasem o.

I know perfectly well that I am an old fool and a senile old man on top of that. And I readily admit to being  an ignoramus too - so I am bound to fail to see just how clever the NDC's geniuses are. However even an old fool like me realises that a party school to teach social democracy is an odd choice.

For the sake of the hard-pressed ordinary people of this dear country of ours,  I shall  therefore venture to give the genuises now running the NDC a few vote-catching ideas.

Why do they not target landless individuals and families across Ghana by promising to  ensure that if the NDC comes to power again, all land held by Chiefs in trust for their people will be compulsorily acquired by the state and immediately transferred to village and town development committees, to be given out to landless individuals and families in their traditional areas?

Blockchain technology will ensure that no one can steal documentation and acquire such lands by fraudulent means anywhere in Ghana. Cool.

The NDC's leadership must also promise to make education free from kindergarten to tertiary-level for those with the aptitude to study. Ditto free healthcare for all Ghanaian citizens who need it.

If the genuises who now run the NDC want to know how those pledges can be financed on a sustainable basis, here is this old fool's two-pesewas.

It can be done by ring-fencing revenues from  dividend payments made to the state by a vertically intergrated  Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). 

A hypothetically vertically-integrated GNPC's downstream marketing subsidiary company, Ghana Oil Company Limited's (GOIL) branded petrol filling stations selling TOR's refined petroleum products across west Africa, will generate three times the money selling barrels of crude oil abroad currently  fetches Ghana.

Surprising though it might be to some,  it will provide enough dividend cash from its stellar  profits to fund free  education up to tertiary level and free healthcare for ordinary people nationwide, on a sustainable basis.

The vertical integration of the GNPC can be achieved  through the merger of the Tema Oil Refinery Limited (TOR), the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST)  and GOIL.

By renationalising GOIL and compensating the company's private shareholders, that partially state-owned downstream  energy marketing company can then be safely merged  with GNPC without it being embroiled in any legal tussles.

It ought to be noted that the vertical integration of the GNPC is vital if Ghana is to benefit fully from the relatively paltry oil revenues  it obtains from selling barrels of crude oil allocated to the GNPC - which are miniscule compared to revenues earned by the foreign oil multinationals exploiting those deposits.

That has come about  as a result of greedy and selfish politicians being corrupted by oil companies. Egregious  corruption ensured  that our leaders deliberately shunned the production sharing agreement model that would have provided Ghanaians ownership of the oil and gas deposits God blessed their country with, and thus obtain maximum benefits from their nation's oil and gas deposits - even when oil prices have headed south: as they are now predicted to. Pity.

Our nation's share of the revenues from its oil and gas deposits are relatively insignificant compared to  the huge sums of cash made thus far by the foreign oil companies currently exploiting oil blocks off Ghana's shores.

Furthermore,  since there are countless e-commerce self-employment opportunities for Ghana's younger generations in the global digital economy, growth of which  has exponentiated online, the NDC must also promise to pass laws making it mandatory for all the telcos to provide a  minimum amount of monthly free voice  calls and data bundles, to all   mobile phone owners with registered sim cards.

The justification for that policy initiative is that the telcos are utilising valuable  public resources - radio frequencies - to generate obscene profits. By making free phone calls and data bundles available to mobile phone users, the NDC will be telling the whole world that it sees that initiative as making free internet access part of the  basic human rights of all Ghanaians.

In any case, are free calls after midnight not a marketing tool in the industry, today, even as we speak?

And, instead of burdening taxpayers needlessly, and piling up massive debts for future generations to pay, the NDC must promise the nation that when in power it will give out all road and rail infrastructure projects to private-sector companies on a build, own, operate and transfer after 25-30 year basis (with all the projects self-financed by those selfsame companies).

The NDC should also promise to advertise the bids for all such tenders globally too to  avoid future STX-type debacles.

Will such a creative policy not provide the nation with a modern, tolled concrete road network linking all the regional capitals in Ghana at no cost to taxpayers?. Ditto a modern rail network linking all Ghana's ten regional capitals too?

It also has to be pointed out that a policy proposal to abolish personal income tax in Ghana when it comes to power, will paradoxically  guarantee sustained economic growth under an NDC government. As will making Ghana the  nation with Africa's lowest corporate tax regime.

That will dramatically widen the tax net and increase  tax revenues - as every entrepreneur (from micro-entrepreneurs to SME owners - all notorious for evading taxes) in Ghana will feel morally obliged to pay their taxes as their contribution to the nation-building effort.

And since the University of Arizona's College  of Engineering has invented a stronger and  far less expensive substitute for cement, Acrete, by ring-fencing the National Lotteries Authority's revenues for use as long-term soft loans to real estate companies providing well-designed and well-built precast concrete, rent-to-pay affordable prefabricated housing  for ordinary Ghanaians, with payments spread over 25 years, the NDC can promise to end the nation's housing deficit and ensure that every Ghanaian can own their own home if they so desire. Simple.

Finally, since it is only the wiles and unfathomable greed of banks that is keeping Ghana's killer interest rates  absurdly high, the NDC  must step out of the shadow of conventional economic thinking, and promise to collaborate with the Bank of Ghana to ensure that interest rates in Ghana remain under 5 percent, regardless of the book-long-fears  that that will lead to inflation - a notion that is  pure nonsense to real-world-economy-contrarians.

All the above constitute this old fool's humble two-pesewas to the geniuses who now run the NDC. Cool.

Post Script.

Being a senile old fool, it is not surprising that I forgot to add that above all, the NDC must stop being so mean-spirited to the media professionals who for patriotic reasons backed them in the past when the party was in the political wilderness for eight long years, before coming to power again in January 2009, when such media professionals  fall on hard times through no fault of theirs.

The question there is: Have the NDC's super-wealthy crony-capitalist pals not literally made billions of Ghana cedis over the eight long years that the party was in power for? Haaba.

After all, what is a gift of a few million Ghana cedis distributed to the pro-NDC media, by way of  subscriptions, advertisments and generous sponsorship deals, to such lucky and fabulously-wealthy souIs - especially when such donations won't even make a dent on the vast fortunes they have amassed, thus far,  I ask? Ebeeii!

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