EDITOR?S NOTE:

There comes a time when every nation, every human being or human organization have to admit they have failed, or at least have hit a rock, so that they can retreat, open their minds and learn from others and receive help. Ghana is such a nation in 2013. The PR and image perception did not work. Being the pioneer in sub-Saharan Africa to obtain political independence in 1957, there was perhaps the image to maintain. However the economic downfall started in mid 1960s when massive investment in factories and industries were not allowed to yield before being closed down by succeeding mostly military but also civilian governments. Since the mid 1980s even when Ghana was under military dictatorial rule, Ghana was being lauded by the World Bank and some international institutions of making a recovery. The GDP per capital of Ghana had fallen from about $400 at independence and around 1960 to about $320 by the end of the 1980s, and yet Ghana was being praised. The nation had failed, and those who know better and are sincere are not impressed with all the fanfare about economic growth rate even after adjusting the GDP in 2010, and the discovery of oil.

Ghana?s skyline now shows some impressive new high rises by the foreign firms who seem to take whatever they can, from mining gold to oil. Of course that affects the nation?s GDP, for a time. Whiles taking $603 million in loans and grants from the World Bank between 2005 and 2006, Ghana could not expand their water processing plants and delivery system. In addition Ministers and officials are suspected to take bribes and allow illegal mining even in river beds around the country, some with complicity of local chiefs.

After 56 years of political independence Ghana virtually stopped building any major infrastructures right after first Premier Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown by a military coup in 1966.  For 47 years Ghana has been run mostly by armed or unarmed group of strong-arm men who seem more interested in what they can scoop of the little tax money that comes in. Despite 45% to 200% duties and taxes at the ports on imported vehicles and goods, Ghana could not improve on Nkrumah?s non-stop Highway for decades till 2011 when a grant offered during the rule of American President George Bush was able to build a a 15 km extension in Accra to ease some of the 3-hour traffic across the capital of Accra. According to the former Chief Engineer of Ghana Water company the last major expansion of the Water treatment facilities was in 1965 before the coup. And yet every administration takes loans for water and diver the funds. 

It is sad that Ghana?s leadership simply does not want to do the right thing by their people. What happened to $603 million in grant and loans in 2005-2006 from the World Bank for rural and urban Water projects? How about $120 million Israeli loan in 2010 for water in the Kwahu area? A proverb in Ghana suggests that if a man thinks he is far too clever than everybody else, he ends up saying good morning to a sheep. Ghanaian Ministers and perhaps the President have taken over $10 billion in loans from the Chinese and given them an open license to bring in their cheap labor to engage in surface mining, which on the books is even illegal. Nobody knows what projects are targeted for the $1 Billion loans. The local chiefs often are paid bribes and when the mining takes place these illegal miners called Galamsey, pollute the rivers making drinking unhealthy.

This last example where oil companies are forced to buy water from a neighboring country is the clearest example of the failure of leadership. If Ghana has reached this point where the government refuses to invest to expand the water supply and delivery systems, what comes next is that the high cost of transporting this water will be deducted as expense from the gross oil revenue and hence Ghana?s net income will go down accordingly from the oil proceeds. Simple Arithmetic!  Is it time to seek external Western help from small Water Contractors, instead of the massive loans which never seem to find their way to the projects. Is Ghana ready to say good morning to the sheep? President Mahama has his work cut out for him if he wins this Supreme Court disputed election. Either way, even now he has the power, and every day counts. He can act and act now to develop the water system, and stop this disgrace and massive financial losses to the nation from the expected oil revenues!

Our_Oil (1)

International oil companies in the Jubilee Field now import potable water from Cote d?Ivoire and Benin because of the inability of the Ghana Water Company (GWC) in the Western Region to meet their water supply demands.

?As a result of this shortage, supply vessels go to Cote d?Ivoire to buy water to service the offshore oil and gas industry, at a very high cost to the Government of Ghana,? Mr Nuetey Adziman, the Executive Secretary of the Ghana Oil and Gas Service Providers Association (GOGSPA), said.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Takoradi, Mr Adziman said though he was unable to determine the volumes of water imported by the oil companies, they could run into millions of cubic metres a day.

The cost of importing the water is added to the cost of development of the various oilfields in which the government has shares and, therefore, contributes in paying.

Meanwhile, the GWC has said its inability to supply adequate water to communities in its catchment area is due partly to the activities of galamsey operators.

Currently, according to GWC officials, the company produce less than two million cubic metres of water per day, instead of six million cubic metres.

It is for this reason that the Western Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has expressed shock at the revelation that the Minerals Commission has granted permits to three mining companies to mine gold in some rivers in the Sekyere Hemang area.

This is at a time when efforts are being made to stop galamsey activities along river banks.

A letter written by the Minerals Commission to the REGSEC which was sighted by the Daily Graphic said from the commission?s records, 21 applications were currently pending.

The letter was signed by the Principal Inspector of Mines, Mr Evans K. Addae.

Mining in water bodies (dredging) is permitted by the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission in some instances.

Experts have, however, warned that if steps are not taken to repeal that law for water to flow before the middle of this year, when the international oil companies would be returning to the country to start operations, the country will lose a lot.

They strongly advise against the daily importation of water into the country at a cost to the government

Mr Adziman said the development had become a great source of worry to members of GOGSPA because the continuous importation of water defeated the local content agenda.

`He said the country could not boast of promoting ?local content and local participation? in petroleum activities as prescribed in the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act when water had to be imported, noting that the supply vessels had been forced to resort to water importation.

Source: Daily Graphic

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