Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dear Africa, Please Look Beyond Stupid Political Manifestos

Africa! What does that name evoke? War? Savagery? Barbarism? Backwardness? Well I can forgive you if you said yes to any of the above. For an average of 50 years, we've just been wallowing in a state of drunken stupor, believing it shall be well...someday!

Personally, I pin our massive dev problems on one thing- a lack of strategic vision on the part of individual countries that make up this continent. As a model for my arrgument, let me use Ghana as a microcosm of the continent.

We've been practising what America has taught us to call multi-party democracy for close to two decades now, with two main political parties being the dominant forces. However, our plight as a nation has gone from bad to worst. Why? Because we've made the means an end in itself. Confused? Stick with me.

The order of the day is that political parties prepare some gibberish they call a manifesto, present it to the electorate and the one who manages to present the most unrealistic one wins. On the surface this seems natural. But the problem with this approach is that it's taken us no where.

Using this approach has resulted in pulling the country in opposite directions by the political parties. One party comes to power and promises to achieve what it's outlined in its manisfesto, when it gets voted out, the next party comes and will also like to work on its manisfesto. To hell with that of the predecessor party. What does this create? Retardation of development.

We don't need stupid political party crap called manisfestos. That takes power from us and puts it in their hands. What we need, is a grand strategic plan of where we'll want to see the country in say 50 or 100 years' time. The plan should encompass all spheres of the economy and country broken down into manageable time frames of say 4 years.

This way, any party that comes to office will not be judged on how much of their agenda they achieve, but by how much of the national strategic plan they've achieved in the given time frame. This will help steer the country in a unified direction irrespective of which political party is in power. Doing this, we can be rest assured that no matter which party is in power, the nation will be advancing with speed towards a better future for all.

As it stands now, we are trapped in a rut...and we keep digging every four years foolsihly hoping it shall be well. No it won't unless we avoid this game of political manifestos like a plague...my two cents :-).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spending the day with a swollen eye

I woke up up this morning with a swollen eye, my right eye to be precise. I don't know what caused it, perhaps some insect bit me while I was giving my body its due. Maybe my doctor friends Alade and David can help me out.

Thanks to this extra patch of meat under my eye, I could not report to the office. Instead of going to the hospital, I was called to come to campus because we had a presentation on a Macro Economics assignment.

Today being the so called Valentine's day, I've not called or sent any sms to wish anyone happy v day. Yea I hardly flow with the crowd :-). Ok maybe I hardly have anybody that I'd want to share my day with ;-).

We're done with the presentation and I'm now struggling for transport back home...with my eye still swollen and painning me like hell...hope I get home before this pain aggravates.

In case you're wondering the point of this post, it's just to help me ease my pain knowing I've voiced it out to the world...:-). Do wish me well...and get me a chocolate...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ghana- Of Fuel Prices and A Lay Man's Economics

Ghana, my country, is an interesting place to live. If you are a stranger, just turn on the radio in the morning and you will immediately realise one thing- an unhappy population and a really confused government. I don't know, perhaps it's only me that sees things differently, but our economists are really doing a disservice the populace.

A few years back, the previous government decided to end subsidies for fuel and pass the full cost to we the consumers. I have no problem with that. The foremost reason put forward for such a radical decision was the debt that was amassing at the state refinery. Sure that sounds reasonable right? No wrong. I do not agree that the state subsize fuel prices for people riding in their latest fuel guzzling cars. Far from that.

But I even dislike more, the nation passing on fuel prices to consumers without any measures in place to cushion the poor, being the majority of the populace. You know, I find it laughable when all these noise makers sit on radio and blurt out more nincompoopery in the name of "social commentating" or however they call it. Applying my high school economics knowledge to out current predicament tells me that for a government to pass on the full cost recovery of fuel to its populace, it must make sure it has reliable, highly efficient and affordable public transportation in place!

As to why none of the tin gods ruling us gets this I don't know. What I know is that if you have reliable public transportation run and subsidized by the government, those of us who do not have cars of our own are not left at the mercy of private transport operators who take every opportunity to exploit passengers. In doing so, the government indirectly subsidizes the fuel prices for the 'have-nots' and at the same time passing the rich who do not deserve any of that. 

It is atrocious to let me, a 'trotro' user pay the same fuel price with someone in the latest and most expensive Benz or BMW car. That is not inequality, that is a crime against humanity. I agree that the market forces of demand and supply be allowed to dictate fuel prices, but I do not agree that that should be the end of the case. Strong and adequate measures must be put in place to save poor people the harsh consequences of fuel price increments.

After 50 years of independent, is it really a crime to demand a reliable public transportation system from my country? Of course I've heard of that saying to the effect of not asking what my country can do for me, but does that include not asking for the basic necessities of life as well?