I read your very interesting piece weeks ago which u titled “Any idiot can borrow and build projects” and I was very much amazed.
Many readers who are alien to your writings will feel worried about your diction but it didn’t come to me as a surprise at all.
It is an indisputable fact that you are a good writer whose finesse has drawn a wide range of readership to your stable.
It is albeit regrettable that you have decided to sacrifice your rich talent on the altar of arrogance and complete disdain for your ethics as a journalist and people in authority.
At a point I had to respond in similar fashion with my article “OPEN LETTER TO MANASSEH AZURE AWUNI” in response to your plethora of insults in the issue of the doctors’ strike somewhere last year(Ref: Ghanaweb.com)
Your attempts to rationalize your description of the president as an “idiot” by referring to a very porous argument of the Greek origin of the word simply flies in the face of your own common sense logic that you tout to the highest heavens.
Both lexical and ostensive definitions of the word “idiot” clearly means an insult.
The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines an “idiot” as a person with extreme mental retardation; a foolish or stupid person.Clearly this is highly unfortunate and undeserving of the number one gentleman of the nation.
If your logic that any “any idiot can borrow and build projects” will hold,then one may also postulate that “any idiot can be a journalist” since one need not any rare qualities to venture into journalistic training.But I disagree,I believe it takes people who are inherently fair, objective and resourceful to become good journalists.
You also make the point that “But is there anything special about borrowing money for infrastructural projects,some of which are fraught with allegations of overpricing?!Any ordinary person can do that or put differently,any idiot can do that”
This is by far,the most bizzare and ridiculous comment anyone could make;very simplistic and ignorance-laden.
Any serious journalist who reads wide and is a bit savvy with knowledge in finance will know that borrowing money,prudent use of money for returns,debt servicing,debt management, exchange rate risk management which are all ingredients of borrowing need a very strong Financial Management adroitness to handle and not just about ‘Over-The-Counter’ borrowing that we do with our friends, family relations and acquaintances.
Have you found out why a country like Greece will find it very difficult to even raise a dollar on the International Financial Market??
It simply because their balance sheet is not good enough.
The creditworthiness of a country is a very key basis for a country’s ability to borrow on the Eurobond market.
Recently published credit rating of Ghana by Moody placed Ghana at B3,Standard & Poor B- and Fitch B,all portraying very good signs of improvement and robust economy.
Gross Domestic Product has ballooned from $30bn in 2008 to $130bn in 2015 meaning the country has a bigger balance sheet or collateral to borrow than in 2008.I don’t know what “common sense” one needs to appreciate this rudimentary analyses.
You also claim that providing water is not a policy to boast about and therefore any idiot can borrow and build water.
It is rather amazing that in your short spate of elevation from a village boy somewhere in the North to a City boy,u tend to forget so soon the quagmire of draught that you and your people suffered which led to several cases of guinea worm until recently when it was eradicated.
Indeed,it is not a “serious business”, but the people in Wa,Kpassa,Adaklu,Anyigbe,Adenta,Teshie-Nungua,Kyebi,Ashaiman- Gbetsile will forever be grateful that for once they have been lifted from the quicksand of decades of draught to a solid rock unbridled access to clean and potable water.
Another fiendish assertion that u make is that the community day schools have been built outside the communities and thus therefore cannot provide the quantity of the students needed to fill them due to lack of proximity and also the fact that students want to attend ” first class schools” all in attempts to pooh-pooh the great development that we are seeing.
Clearly this shows your high level of naivity and very myopic spectacle.
When Governor Gerald Greasy and his team was considering a permanent site for the University of Ghana,they didn’t go to the city but rather chose a very remote hilly area in a jungle those times.From a population of about 300 students in 1948,today there are more than 40,000 students who are fully accommodated and yet still the is land available undeveloped for the future as the school continues to evolve and increase in population.
Today University of Ghana is the best in West Africa and 7th in Africa and one of the top schools in the world.This feat came as a result of visionary leadership.So Manasseh,every first class school started from somewhere at a point
Your further comment that there are no commuter vehicles to convey the kids to the newly built schools is woefully inaccurate. It is a fact that each of the newly built schools come with a shuttle which conveys the kids to and fro.This could have easily been cross-checked at the Ministry of Education but clearly you failed to heed to the ethics of your profession and play to the gallery.
I watched the interviews of Nana Akufo Addo and President Mahama both on BBC with Steve Sucker and Tim Sebastian respectively and even though these journalist are far away in UK,they showed rather a high pedigree and proper knowledge of the issues in Ghana.
It is regrettable that a journalist of your kind would exhibit such crass ignorance in such a manner.
Moreover you also make a claim that “our education,health and important aspects of Human Development are retrogressing”.
This is a palpable falsehood which cannot stand the litmus test of empirical fact check.
In the Health Sector,the total number of hospitals from colonial days to 2008 stood at 679,in 2016 it is 1261 with 25 new polyclinics and 3 new regional hospitals from 2013 to 2106.This reflects directly in the improvements in health of Ghanaians.According to the latest World Health Organization report Life Expectancy is 62.4years from 59.64 years in 2007.
Infant mortality is now 41% from 50% in 2008.Child mortality is 19% from 31% in 2008.
National Health Insurance Utilization has increased from 9.3million to 29.6 million and claims payment increased from GHC 183.1million to GHC1,073 million.
In education, more schools are being built which have translated into increased enrollment.
Pre-Tertiary enrollment increased from 6.8million to 8.5 million students.
Tertiary enrollment increased from 154,446 to 313,845 students in 2016 more than double.Two new Universities have been built.
WASSCE passes has surged from 13% in 2008 to 24.7% in 2016 for number of students who had A1 to C6.
Our Human Development Indexes have hit a top-notch.
Recent World Bank Report published in October 2016 showed that Ghana is the best place to do business in West Africa ahead of Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire and 9th in Africa.
These are due to the high level of infrastructure, stable power and currency, water and other contributing factors.
Also,the Ghana Living Standard Survey published by the Ghana Statistical Service indicates that people living in extreme poverty have reduced from 37% to 9.6%.
Though I believe there is more to be done on job creation,evidence show that many jobs have been created in the last 4 years.
Facts from the Ghana Investment Promotion Sector and Ghana Free Zones Board show that more than 300,000 direct and indirect jobs have been created.The Youth Employment Agency recently has employed more than 40,000 Ghanaians in modules such as Sanitation, Community Nursing,Community Policing,Community Fire Attendants etc..
Nurses and Midwives on Public Payroll since 1970 to 2008 was 21,861 but now stands at 53,345 which means more than double of the existing nurses have been employed.
Clearly,it is very nauseating to suggest that all the monies invested in these projects are debts.These are called investments because they have the ability to repay the debt due to increased commercial activities and businesses and increased tax revenue.
Atuabo Gas for instance is a $1billion investment but saves government $500 million annually from gas importation.
Indeed the late Osagyefo never minced words when he said in Conakry that…
“they are telling you Ghana is bankrupt,they are telling you Ghana is in debt for over 240 million pounds.How fools they are??.Look around yourself.See the mighty Volta Dam,the schools,railways, universities, hospitals, roads etc.These are not debts but physical investment which shall bring unending benefits from generation to generations”
Is there anything different from what is being said now??
I believe we still have hiccups as a nation but these few years’ massive economic transformation gives me hope that the future is not as bleak as you and your cabal want us to believe.
I also believe that as a journalist who holds in high esteem professional ethics of truth,public interest and unbiased balanced view, you should remove the cloak of your deep partisan politics and be a vanguard of objectivity and fair reportage.
God bless our homeland Ghana.
By Steve Nii Affum Sackey