On March 6, 2019, Ghana celebrated 62 years of independence.
The day was as usual marked with parades and speeches.
The departure from Accra to Tamale for the commemoration of the national event was a refreshing idea.
It broke the annual monotony, brought national attention and by extension, visibility to the northern regional capital.
There has been divided opinion on how the day should be celebrated.
Some think it is not worth celebrating because we have nothing to show for the 62 years of nationhood.
Others are of the view that even the peace we enjoy is worth celebrating.
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Well, I don’t intend to take sides but to touch on a few nagging issues.
These issues, if not addressed head-on, will see us asking the same questions next year and the years beyond.
I am referring to our penchant for and vicious cycle of wasting resources.
Just take a cursory look at any Public Accounts Committee( PIAC) report and the picture will be clearer.
We blatantly disregard procurement laws that we have promulgated ourselves. Suppliers supply almost anything with profit being the guiding principle.
The now infamous 86 Hyundai Gallopers, and the trotro ambulances are but a few of such examples.
Let’s take the road sector for example.
We keep saying that our roads are bad but we keep forgetting that even the ones that are fixed deteriorate in no time.
How come that most of our roads these days don’t last beyond five years but the motorway has remained motorable for several decades.
This is akin to pouring water into a basket and the worst offenders are our own local contractors. Sometimes by the time the first 10 kilometres are done and they move to next 10, the first one begins to develop cracks and potholes.
Then also is the huge sums of money spent on foreign travels for sometimes very frivolous reasons.
Perhaps, it is only in Ghana that people at the twilight of their careers are sent on courses in the field they have been working almost all their lives only to return and retire.
What is even more worrying is this ritual where every sports team must travel outside for training before a tournament.
Has this been shown to boost their performance in any positive way?
Take the Jamaican sports team, for instance, they remain among the best in the world but train at home.
Is it about our penchant for things foreign?
We also keep appointing, “disappointing” and re-appointing more ministers and chief executives even when we are not able to get value for money in the huge sums that go into allowances and remuneration, not to talk of giving away vehicles which have been slightly used only to buy more as replacement.
Why, for instance, did the presidency have in excess of 800 vehicles most of them V8s? I think we have more of these cars than even the USA and other powerful economies.
Can’ t we adopt the pool system as operates in most civilised places and allow individuals to procure the fanciest of cars as their pockets would permit? Why should central government be saddled with the health, entertainment, accommodation, security, transport, fuel and other needs of one Ghanaian when another who also answers to the same name of being a Ghanaian cannot access basic health care, security, accommodation etc? This is most unfair.
Another area of waste worth paying attention to is the prevention of post-harvest losses. We often have gluts of tomatoes, mangoes, oranges, avocados etc. and have been unable to process what we are unable to consume immediately and watch the rest go to waste.
This is really disheartening, especially for the farmer who has toiled on the fields. Why is it taking us so long to find a way of decreasing this wastage by preservation or processing them for use when the produce is not in season?
I submit that good governance is about sealing all the leakages and wastage in the system.
As in all endeavours in life, resources will never be infinite and our needs will continue to be varied. Performing a balancing act to ensure that we cut our coat according to our cloth is the way to go.
Let us embrace the prudent management of our resources and come one independence anniversary, we shall all be singing from the same sheet that “Eureka, we have made it”!If not, we would reach a stage where we would have depleted everything and the obvious result would be extreme poverty .