Green Book of phantom achievements

Ebo Quansah on the Beat

The colour is green.  In size, it is akin to the one published a revolution ago on the Mediterranean Coast.  The originators of the concept may not have intended it as a comic relief. It may have been sold to the leader as something to stimulate thinking, and aid the understanding of the leader and his achievements, obviously to make the people love him more.

Given the glossy nature of the publication, a lot might have gone into it, in terms of trimming down the national purse they claim they have bequeathed to Ghanaians in two years. Like the Third Universal Theory, outlined in details in the Maghreb publication, however, the Ghanaian version borders on the phantom.

At my age and disposition, re-living the past has its own challenges. But, the tired old brain still recalls the raid on the Legon campus, and the dispersing of students, many of whom were not responding to treatment from Gondar Barracks. In those days, when Ghanaians went to bed before sundown on the orders of the military Chairman, Brother Gaddafi’s Green Book received such raving reviews that the University of Ghana had to be closed down in 1982, so that the Legon campus could be used as the Green Book Study centre. It is not very likely that any of the public institutions for higher learning would follow the events leading to the study of only one subject at the time.

Some say the 1992 Constitution has taken care of that. Others point to the commando raid on Football House, the headquarters of the Ghana Football Association, to buttress their claim that not much has changed, which is why the book is not only green, but contains claims that could hardly be verified on the ground.

I was scratching the head to work out the importance of such a publication, at a time the average family might not afford a chicken for Christmas, when the mind hit on the brilliant note that those who conceived the idea might have one eye on easing their home burdens during the Yuletide.

Once upon a Budget, Stanislav Dogbe, News Editor at Joy FM, before conceiving the ideas that he could change his lifestyle under the Umbrella better than holding the microscope, performed the education programme so well that the beneficiaries did not even know that they had been to the classroom. The economic effect though, is still reverberating at the headquarters of the Ministry of Information.

Only GH¢160,000 was lost to the state, though so much noise was made. The education of the likes of  my uncles and aunties at Ekumfi Ekrawfo to understand why they are better off, at a time they cannot afford the basic necessities of life, appeared to have taken a back seat though.  The ‘Aban’ Cinema van never made it to the village square. While the elders were itching for a re-run of Bob Cole’s ‘I told You So’ and the likes, the youth were craving for a show on the Black Stars performance in South Africa. How Stan educated the people of Ghana, is still a mystery.

Incidentally, the “BETTER GHANA AGENDA: Top 50 Achievements of The Prof. John Evans Atta Mills Led Government In His First Two Years,” tells a story of a developing nation that bears very little semblance to this land of our birth.

By the way, I picked up the copy under review from the reception at Joy FM. If Stan is educating the nation once more, I would like to know at what cost. But, that does not take away the fact that the glossy nature of the publication may have a bearing on the national purse though.

Inflation

Inflation has its own way of manifesting itself in the hands of Dr. Kwabena Duffuor and Dr. Grace Bediako, the Honourable Lady running the Ghana Statistical Service on behalf of the former tax-man. Obviously, it is the single most important achievement of the Ekumfi-born former Professor of Law. The new Green Book opens with an assertion that inflation had dropped from 18.1 per cent to 9.38 percent last October. “This is indicative of the fact that the fiscal monetary policy mix and corrective measures put in place to put the economy back on tract are working.”

It is one topic that has been bandied about for a while. But, the reality is in the market place. Chicken used to sell at well below GH¢5 at the end of 2008.  This Christmas, Chicken is doing between GH¢10 and GH¢25. It tells much about the economy we are building for ourselves that the average Ghanaian might not even afford eggs for Christmas. And they say inflation is falling, and we have leapfrogged into the Middle Income bracket.

What is a spine? Why is it taking such a centre stage in the Professor’s scheme of things? The dictionary will tell you that spine is a collection of small bones connected together down the middle of the back. The NDC says the Single Spine Salary Structure is underway. The last we heard of it, prison officers were on strike. The disparity between the police, the first recipients of the spine, and the warders, in terms of wages, is a gulf.

In the scheme of things of this administration, only the security services have the spine, which was amply demonstrated by those at the Economic and Organised Crime Office in their raid on the Ghana Football Association. The teachers are crying out. Lecturers at the universities and the Polytechnics hit the streets for pay, even though their rectors had given themselves a king’s ransom in their negotiations.

Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA)

Did I read that SADA, Savannah Accelebrated Development Authority, is up and running? Yes, I did in the Green Book.  “The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) law has been passed, and work has started to open up the three Northern Regions, Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions to enhance agricultural production and industrialisation, “the Green Book spelt out.

That is an interesting proposition. The last we heard of the SADA, the Government had approved GH¢25 million, barely enough to rehabilitate flood victims in the north recently. I was raking my memory for the pledge the party made on the campaign trail, when I remembered the doctrine of National Democratic Congress (NDC) pledges, according to Honourable Alfred Abayeteye.

Election pledges, in the words of the Member of Parliament for Sege, are not binding. That may explain why the NDC announced on the campaign trail that they would make $200 million available to open up the north through the accelerated plan, and settled on GHc¢25 million.

In politics, I am told, it is not always that two plus two is four. That I know. I am also aware that in the last demonetisation exercise, we all decided to get rid of four zeroes. For instance ¢10,000 became GH¢1. ¢100,000 now answers for only GH¢10. If the NDC, now in the saddle, decides that SADA money should read GH¢25 million instead of $200 million, it may be a new means of working out sums in the new Green Book.

In the Third Universal Theory in Gaddafi’s Green Book, “it is illogical for people to enter mosques or churches, see people worship without taking part. In the same vein, it is stupid for crowds to enter the stadia, see people participate in sports without taking part.

It is the genesis of the Sports for All policy. Once upon a revolution, the Ohene Djan Stadium was closed down to formal sporting activities. Instead, various women groups were organised from all parts of the national capital to play ‘Ampe.’
We have come a long way in our political evolution. Old habits, though, die hard. The commando raid on the offices of the Ghana Football Association the other day, brought the entire picture back. In those days, all it needed for a military or police raid on offices and homes was for someone to infer that a trader was hoarding goods.

It was the way Makola was pulled down. One early morning, the military provided cover for bulldozers to raze the market down. In our revolutionary zeal, we all failed to appreciate the fact that there could be no hoarding with availability of goods. The economic theory of the day, did not factor Adam Smith in the equation, which is why we could construct roads no one sees.

It is only appropriate that the crater left by the bulldozers has been given a befitting name. Rawlings Park reminds those, who are old enough to remember the dark days of the so-called revolution, of the atrocities committed in fashioning out a revolution that only changed the balance books of those who were envious of those who achieved their wealth the hard way.

Roads and Highways

I thought Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor told us in the 2011 Budget Statement that the Government was ‘considering’ partnering with financial institutions to raise the funding for the construction of the Nsawam-Apedwa and Achimota-Ofankor stretches of the Accra-Kumasi Highway, as well as the Tetteh Quarshie-Adenta portion of the Accra-Aburi Highway.

Apparently, someone has raised the funding for the construction of these projects on the blind side of the Finance Minister.  At least, so the NDC version of the Green Book seems to suggest.

Musing over the National Health Insurance Scheme and its supposed expansion in the Green Book, tells much about our political tongue-twisting.
NHIS: One-time premium

When word went round the cities, towns and villages that the former taxman had hit on a brilliant idea of making contributors to the scheme pay once in their life-time, there was relief all over the place. Hard-up Ghanaians rejoiced at the idea of making a solitary contribution in a life-time. The people are still waiting. The crafty compilers of the Green Book conveniently forgot about the one-time premium pledge.

The news, worthy of trumpeting, is that the scheme “has registered 15,555,816 members as at June 30, 2010, representing 66.4 percent of the population.”  We are not told though, about which kind of population. Is this statistics coming out of the 2010 Population and Housing Census? Better not. Dr. Grace Bediako could not even count the people of Ghana.

She feels more comfortable talking about the new Middle Income Status of this nation, which came as we all slept. We improved our economy by doing nothing.  It is that phantom approach to the serious business of nation-building that has informed the implementation of the so-called BETTER GHANA Agenda.

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