Thursday, 6 July 2017

Can A Private-Sector Full Of Crooks And Tax-Evaders Help Transform Ghana?

There now seems to be a national consensus that it is the creativity and dynamism of the national economy's private-sector that will transform Ghana into a prosperous society. That is to be welcomed.

That general consensus not withstanding, the latest  scandal in which the Bulk Oil and Transportation Company Limited (BOST), is said to have sold as much as 5 million litres of substandard fuel to an unregisterd private-sector company, illustrates perfectly how our nation is being  slowly strangulated by egregious high-level corruption, partly fueled by crooked privately-owned businesses.

The question is: If collusion between unprincipled officials in the top echelons of Ghana's public-sector  enables well-connected crooks in our nation's private-sector to siphon off billions of cedis of public funds into private pockets, what hope is there that the private-sector of our national economy could ever become the engine of growth for our country's economy, and help transfom Ghana into a prosperous and equitable society?

In light of  the aforementioned BOST scandal, the astonishing revealation that  as many as 800 private companies owned by members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) -  which we must not forget succeeded in convincing the vast majority of ordinary Ghanaians that a government formed by it would root out high-level corruption  during the 2016 election campaign -  have applied to be registered to do business in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, is worrisome.

It can be likened to hungry vultures circling and preparing to descend on a  decaying dead goat.

If it is indeed true that as many as 800 companies owned by NPP members have applied to be registered to do business in the petroleum industry's downstream sector, then the more responsible sections of the Ghanaian media ought to be on red alert.

Journalists and media houses ought to find out from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), and inform the whole nation who exactly the promoters of those 800 companies are, and the names of all those applicant companies, too.

Clearly, there are some NPP  members who are determined to increase their net worth even at the nation's expense. That is no secret. However, for the sake of the masses of the hardpressed Ghanaian populace, none of those greedy and sly NPP members sly em must be allowed by the media to succeed in their aim.

On their part, the most honest and principled members of the NPP ought to ensure that  those in the government of President Akufo-Addo, constantly reiterate the point that for Ghana to be
successfully transformed into a prosperous society - one in which all who are prepared to work hard succeed and are able to  live well -  private-sector businesses ought to be underpinned by corporate good governance principles.

It is also important to make the point that any  government that says it wants to ensure that there is value for money in all public procurement contracts, must let the world know that it will never tolerate any private-sector tendencies to engage in profiteering, when supplying goods and services to the public-sector.

Indeed, there ought to be new policy to ensure that the owners and managers of all private-sector businesses that over charge when executing public procurement contracts, are banned for life from bidding for government contracts.

The media in Ghana must work hard to expose high-level corruption under the present regime. Ditto past high-level corruption that occured during the period that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was in power for, from 7th January, 2009, to 7th January, 2017.

If the private-sector is to be the engine of growth in Ghana, then it needs to change its ways - for  a private-sector full of crooks and tax-evaders can never transform Ghana into a prosperous society. Ever. Full stop.
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