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High economic growth is a matter of choice, not destiny – IMANI

The Founding President and CEO of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe has said high economic growth for Ghana is a matter of choice, not destiny.

“It depends on the nature of the policies, laws, and institutions that are put in place by the people of a country to ensure that they have good governance and economic and social conditions that lead to peace, economic opportunity and prosperity”, IMANI said in a statement.

Titled “Let’s help President Mahama!” Franklin Cudjoe said that “whilst we engage in the endless and God-worrying tons of prayer and fasting, let us practically help President John Dramani Mahama today to surmount the hydra-headed problems part self-inflicted, part a cyclical way of political and economic life in Ghana”.

Beginning with Water, Works and Housing, IMANI said their take is that the Ministry of Water Works and Housing should look for investment outside government, but from another government.

IMANI also suggests the encouragement of limited private involvement in “expanding access to clean water in Ghana. Better still we must effectively let all districts manage and resource their water systems”, IMANI said.

But where will funding come from?

Franklin Cudjoe believes the Canadian Government’s “Export Development Canada” has several commercial vehicles with less than 2% interest rates in most cases over a period”.

IMANI believes these loans are better than the 15% interest on $600m loan to rebuild part of Accra’s drainage system obtained by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).

“There is a $150m on the table now for several months for the Community Water and Sanitation Department after the latter demanded $250m all upfront. After many months of feet dragging, they only signed the MoU last week after we made a little less positive noise”, said IMANI.

“The catch here is that the Canadians like the Americans won’t pay a bribe ahead and won’t probably pay in the end”, according to IMANI.

IMANI also suggests to President Mahama to obtain high speed and spacious boats, each capable of catching a shoal of fish equivalent to the total catch of 200 canoes in a day, but which can’t go past the oil rigs and can withstand sea storms.

IMANI believes “instead of building landing sites and a college of fisheries for small amounts of fish, government should encourage fishermen to be competitive and break the monopoly of thieving pre-mix fuel administrators”.

However, in a December publication in the Africa Report, IMANI also suggested government must avoid wasteful projects.

“Even though we all applauded the decision to go biometric in this election, every objective observer knew we have already collected biometric details of citizens for the following purposes: national passports, the e-Zwich payments platform and the national identification system. It has been proposed that we do the same for voters’ ID cards, drivers’ licenses and National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards. A harmonised system means you may even be able to use one card for multiple systems”.

IMANI said, “even ignoring the inconveniences and inefficiencies, the monetary costs of deploying parallel infrastructure is no small matter. Let us assume the cost of the Electoral Commission system is the benchmark. A crude estimate of the total cost is a whopping $400m. We believe we can cut $250m off this figure through harmonisation”.

Touching on reforms in the Pensions sector, IMANI believe income from pension contributions is more sustainable than oil. According IMANI, for as long as people continue to work, there will continue to be pension contributions.

IMANI’s suggestion is that scheme trustees can invest funds in the private sector, real estate, listed equities and government treasuries.

According to IMANI, “pension sector reforms planned three-and-a-half years ago are only now being implemented. But there are serious questions to be asked about the operations of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), which seems to have become a cash cow for politicians”.

“SSNIT has invested in loss-making government enterprises and has very shady reporting methods that can only be responsible for the teeming number of public sector workers who retire on $35 a month after contributing to the scheme for 30 years”, IMANI said.



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