Procurement, Power, Privatisation and PAC: Weekly Wrap-Up from the Morning Man

Procurement, Power, Privatisation and PAC: Weekly Wrap-Up from the Morning Man

So what will you remember this week for?

Will it be the recent revelation about the Smarttys Bus Branding deal? As you know, OccupyGhana has been in possession of several documents detailing the Ministry of Transport’s execution of this controversial deal. This week, we got our first glimpse at the actual documentation, and the narrative has been fascinating. Turns out the Ministry had Smarttys brand the buses long before they went to seek approval to contract Smarttys via single sourcing. And when they went to Public Procurement, the approval for the already-completed job was given within 24 hours. So we brought in a former Director of the Public Procurement Authority to help us understand whether this was all normal.

He told us what he would have done if such a request had come to him. He would have asked questions. For example, what was the specification of this rebranding procurement request? Was rebranding part of the original procurement of the buses from the Chinese suppliers? When the buses were presented in the “wrong colour scheme”, why did the Ministry not ask the Chinese suppliers to correct the colour scheme? If they believe that a delay in having the buses running on the streets would constitute a “national security threat”, then why not just put the buses on the street? Can they not carry passengers without branding? And if they can no longer be kept at Parliament House, then why not keep them somewhere else? Where from all this urgency that made sole sourcing necessary? Six simple questions that could have saved the nation millions.

Will you remember this week for the return of Dumsor? Weirdly, on Tuesday night, most of the country experienced power cuts at the same time. The deputy Minister for power explained to us exactly what was happening. All the causes of the recent outages were described as temporary. So, again, everything is under control. The government is going to once again, solve the Dumsor that they solved earlier.

Or will you remember it for the revival of the ECG privatisation debate? Ghana has made an agreement as part of the Millennium Development Compact, to issue concessions from ECG to private operators. This is expected to bring back some efficiency into the company’s operations. The Public Utility Workers’ Union and the Public Service Workers’ Union have issued a joint communique to the government, in which they call for the full privatisation of ECG  by floating it on the stock market to Ghanaians. Their objection to the government deal is not only about the potential loss of jobs, but also about the introduction of foreign players into the power sector. They’re convinced this would be a bad thing. I am not yet decided. Did Vodafone not do better than Ghana Telecom? Did they not employ even more Ghanaians? Why would Ghanaian shareholders be better than foreign ones in managing the utility? On the other hand, why watch all the profits of this still potentially lucrative enterprise get repatriated to foreign investors? But then again, which would we rather see Ghanaians gain from ECG: wages or dividends? Or both? Aah, it’s vexing.

Or perhaps, you will remember the week for the Attorney General’s appearance before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, where they wanted to know, “na GYEEDA sika nkae no wo hen?” They also wanted to know why it was taking so long to prosecute those implicated in the GYEEDA scandal. Again, we heard that all-too-familiar response – that we are a nation of laws, and the wheels of justice grind slowly etc. Why does our government create the impression that our laws are an impediment in the fight against corruption? The wheels grind slowly? Well, I would understand that if we had at least started rolling all the wheels. Can anyone explain to me why the sector minister at the time, the man without whom none of the fraudulent deals and arrangements and loans and modules could never have been arranged, has still not been prosecuted? Which slow-grinding wheel do we have to thank for that?

Or maybe your abiding memory of this week will be the announcement that the ECG is now going to audit all the meters that they claimed were not faulty. Actually, let’s correct that: the Power Ministry has set up a task force to audit all ECG meters. The task force has representatives from the PURC, the Energy Commission, the Ministry of Power, and ECG itself. Now, wat’s wrong with this picture? Where is the Ghana Standards Authority in all this? Are they not the only Government Body mandated to calibrate and audit all instruments of measurement in Ghana? Did they not recently establish a well-equipped lab for specifically fulfilling this particular mandate? So why are they not included I this task force? Could it have anything to do with the fact that they revealed here on the Super Morning Show, that the ECG has been bringing meters with unauthorised specs into the country? If this audit is done without the Ghana Standards Authority, will it even be a valid audit?

Or perhaps you will remember this week for today’s show, and our crucial conversations about the return of the Chinese Chairs, the Electoral Commission’s Minority Report on the Supreme Court ruling on the Abu Ramadan case, or our investigation into the Case of the Ex – our scintillating conversation about the roles our exes play in our current relationships. We will be laying it bare right here on the nation’s biggest Magazine Show, the Super Morning Show.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and it’s been a week of




Source: Myjoyonline