Written by: Prince
Published: 19 August 2019
Prince Eli writes....
NIA REGISTRATIONS, VOLTA REGION AS A TEST TUBE?
Dear Prof Ken Attafuah,
I hardly write official letters, so I will succinctly keep my letter in an embryonic state of grammar, I believe that will make it informal to your formal self as you read the test tube case of the Volta Region
I’ll start with the comments of Fo Atsu from Takla an ardent listener of KUUL 103.5 FM, Ho….
‘…. After all the taxes we pay, the State cannot make it convenient for us to get an identity as Ghanaians?... What would it have caused the state if it used monies to get more registration centers to limit the unending queues ?.... Why deny us the chance to have an identity?
In my practice as host of morning shows over the last 5years, the NIA registrations is one of the few issues that got unrepentant serial callers of both the ruling NPP and opposition NDC agreeing that the process was not fair.
Ever since I hosted you on the 11th of July 2019 my personal phone, my producer’s and our studio lines received not less than 5 calls a day. These calls varied from complaints of late start of work, purported shortage of registrations forms, to demand for monies from registrants before registration forms are filled .
We at Kuul Fm have over the years served as a medium of transfer of many complaints for redress but such wasn’t the case in the NIA Registration as there was absolutely no one to speak to. We have called the National PRO ; Mr. Francis Pamldet (ACI), more than we had ever called any public relations officer. He responded once to our call on a lucky Thursday and to the innumerable that he cared less to return, the least said about them the better. In his ‘On air’ interview with us, he discounted the many concerns we had raised through our listeners and visits to the registration centers. The obvious ones of network failures he posited will be addressed.
Mr. Pamdetti indicated again in that interview that the average number of registrations to be completed at each center was 120 because each center should have 3 registration set ups, registering an average of 40 people. He however failed to mention a center that had met the 120 average target a day. Indeed the checks we run indicated that less than 90 people are registered a day. I wondered whether he was reading from a book written in his air-conditioned office far away in the National Capital or rendered a true account of the many struggles of a registrant.
The challenges were indeed innumerable; starting from the hijacking of the Out Patient Department of Ho PolyClinic by registration officers to the contribution of 5gh each by registrants at Adaklu Dave, to the death of another in Akatsi North.
Yes a death was recorded from an exercise that should have been stress free but for the ‘god’ nature of some officers. It is devasting to see pictures of the many other registrants who spent 5 nights keeping vigil at registration centers just to secure an identity card. The many mosquito bites and being drenched by early morning dew , might certainly result in some visits to the clinic; another preventable cost to the suffering National Health Insurance Scheme. The numbers that kept Vigil cannot be overemphasized, I counted more than 100 people at 4am at 4 different centers in Ho awaiting registration officers who will arrive 3 hours later only to attend to about 70 people, who have defied all odds and won many fights. This certainly sounds quite gross and unfair.
I still struggle to understand what lessons have been learnt from the exercise in Greater Accra as the director puts it. It will not be far fetched to say that no lessons have been learnt but people of Oti should not suffer the same ‘unlearning’ feat.
Prof on the KUUL Morning Show said the registration target is 85% of population above 15 years but was unable to mention the number of centers and locations designated for the exercise. He explained that the process of gazzetting these centers was underway which my listeners found rather strange. This list was released less than two days before the start of registration on the 22nd of July 2019(the reduction in registration date from 22nd July to 14 July was also announced a week before the exercise started) with many changes and reduction in registration centres without adequate public announcements. This certainly left people very confused.
And to further compound the confusion of many, the NCCE Director in the Volta Region asserted that there will be 350 registration centres across the region to achieve the 85% target.
A simple arithmetic will show that for the 19 days, only 798, 0000, people will be registered if the theoretical average of 120 registrations per day is even achieved. Volta Region has 1,305427 of its population above 15 years, this implies that about 303,612 will not be registered at the end of the entire exercise. Are they the many who kept Vigil yet were ignored by the many protocols, sex and bribery allegations?
Prof. Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, we were denied a month’s registration we complained but were harshly ignored and given an excuse of a ‘backup’ during the last week. May I humbly ask whether you knew that there will be 2 Public holidays reducing the 21 days to 19? What was the remedy?
Did your registration officers understand the value of respect in the Volta Region? The gust and arrogance with which they carried out this national assignment, leaves much to be desired. They need some lessons from ‘courtesy for boys and girls’ to be aware that they had inform the many registrants when they faced challenges especially the unending network failure. We tout ourselves as practitioners of decentralization, may you involve assembly members and opinion leaders in the process so that they better disseminate relevant information.
I end here wishing my grandmother, producer;Emefa Kings and the many pregnant women and aged who were never given preferential treatment as you promised all the best in the next year as regional centers are opened. Lest I forget; may the gentle soul of Fiamey Dzatugbui who died for the love of mother Ghana rest in perfect peace. To console her 4 children may there be a naming ceremony(clinic where she was confirmed dead) organised by Hon. Dr. Amuzu Sodoke; DCE for Akasti North on behalf of His Excellency in her honour.I cannot sign out without saying a word on my admiration of your beer glass from that coded location from which you gulped a bottle of chilled Origin while pregnant women stood under terrible weather conditions to get the famous Ghana Card. May you not forget to tell us after your nice time there that the people could still register after the mass registration exercise.
Written by: Prince
Published: 28 October 2019
The Delivery of 1D1F in Volta Region, a mission impossible?
The construction of a factory in every district in the country, was second to the Free SHS mantra. It gave many Ghanaians especially the youth some unsolicited hope because of its spatial disposition. Many were made to believe that the NPP, when voted into power will build these factories all by themselves.
I remembered after a long conversation on radio with the then Communication Director of the party in the Ho Central Constituency, Mr. Bright Doe (now the Manager of NHIS in the Municipality), my mum, Da Bertha an ardent listener called me at dawn and asked: “Elikem do you believe 1D1F is doable”? I quickly pulled out an image from Gabby Otchere Darko’s twitter handle that pictorially sited factories in over 200 districts. The image beautifully situated factories in resource rich districts which will serve as raw material source for these factories. For the avoidance of doubt let us revisit some of them:
- Adaklu – Palm Nut Factory employing 180 workers
- Ho West- Waste to Energy Plant employing 3700 workers
- Hohoe - Poultry Processing Plant employing 360 workers
I have to do this because the Communication Director - Bright told myself and the many listeners that NPP, then in opposition, will source its raw materials mostly agriculture from each district. Gabby’s image thus depicted what factory each district will receive. Unsatisfied as she was, she just smiled and said ‘Elikem miawo le agbale me kpor’ to wit that ‘we are the literates’; mum not dumb though.
“We have thought through the policy (1D1F) very well and when I say we will build a factory in every district, we mean it because it is possible, it is not for your votes… I know I can do it and I will do it”. These were the words of the President when he visited the Mamponhene in the run-up to the 2016 elections as recorded on the YouTube channel of the New Patriotic Party, which had over 6.4k views. They made it look as though the state will build and own the factories. The question is; did Mr.Prez and his communicators never read their manifesto? Or they read but mischievously ignored the collaboration with the private sector bit? It is likely though. This opens another can of confusion, in the sense that even if its private sector led, it is government’s responsibility to lure the private sector to invest. So, if we don’t see factories springing up, then the task of luring investors failed and must be taken as failure by government. A vivid example is the ethanol factory promised in Adaklu Kpetsu. Government’s official position is her inability to secure a land which we were hitherto told was secured.
We have had many officials from government condemn citizens of the Volta Region for not taking advantage of the many government intervention especially the 1D1F. I shudder to believe that this reason is among the many blame shifting gestures by government. A simple online search indicates that the few factories commissioned by the president in other parts of the country are not entirely borne out of the ingenuity of citizens from those regions but a conscious effort by the state, of ready mention is the Ekumfi Juice Factory.
Just as the president when he was on tour of the western region made the Omanhene believed his government will establish these factories singlehandedly, the Volta Regional Minister did same to his many cheerleaders. When asked right after vetting by Elton Brobbey of Joy FM what projects he will embark upon, he mentioned that many investors were chasing him for the 1D1F project. I breathe a sigh of relief because I know how business oriented my regional Minister is (He owns the largest mall and a state-of-the-art hotel in Volta, not forgetting the alleged breakthrough he’s getting in establishing a certain skyplus rest stop on the Accra Kumasi highway). He again stated on TOSH FM that Adidome will get a starch factory, Adaklu ethanol et al and that sword cutting will commence in August 2017 (well, there is only one August in 2017 though not the last August ever – so vim!). He was not the only leader building factories in the skies. His many MMDCEs notable among them, DCEs for Ho West, Agortime Ziope and Akatsi North were also on the promising spree together with the MCE of Ho.
One would have thought that Volta Region would have been the first to shout praises of government on the fulfillment of the 1D1F promise.
About three years into government, no MMDCE could mention a factory in their district at the Maiden Regional Town Hall Meeting but were over the roof touting the building of overhead water reservoirs and six-unit classroom blocks. The excuse given by the Regional Minister was that there was not time enough out of the over 6hrs presentation done. Good job Mr Minister! Good job!!
He however promised to update party communicators on the sacred list of 1D1F. You will shudder to ask that; a regional minister who was hitherto chased by investors for 1D1F could not mention a single factory they have built. Umm... something is not adding up!
The deputy minister of information, Mr. Enam Pius Hadzide in an interview on KUUL 103.5 FM inviting people for the town hall meeting indicated that, mention will be made of green and brown factories; ones built from scratch by government and the ones supported by government respectively. He however hurriedly reviewed a DCEs promise of being the first district to own a factory by referring to a list that is only known to the Regional Minister. The sacred list has failed to reach party communicators more than 48hrs after promising its release. It will certainly take the secretary of the party; Bright Nyatsikor (Regional PRO NHIA) from the constituency where investors were allegedly refused as a result of unavailability of land to release the sacred list, after failure from many party communicators. He successfully mentioned the following:
- Caltech Ventures – Hodzo (Brown Factory)
- KOP Farms – Horme Battor, North Tongu District (Green Factory)
- Fresh Farms – Jaupong, North Tongu District (Green Factory)
- C Agritech – Sokode, Ho Municipal (Green Factory)
He could however not mention the state of production of these ‘farms’. Whether the land has even been cultivated for crop production. This raises concern on what a factory is and whether the above could qualify as fulfillment of the factory promise. A quick search on even Wikepedia shows what ‘A factory, is a manufacturing plant or a production plant or an industrial site, usually consisting of buildings and machinery, or more commonly a complex having several buildings, where workers manufacture goods or operate machines processing one product into another.’ Your decision on the aforementioned farms as factories is obvious.
It’s not for anything the teaming youth are asking for 1D1F, they need answers to their long held question of unemployment
The running excuse that many individuals in Volta have not taken the opportunity created by government, making it look as though we are a bunch of lazy cocoons is highly untenable. Kindly permit me to ask government and her cohorts the following:
- The many proposals seating on their desks?
- The investors they came back with after the many oversea travels?
- And next time anyone has a meeting with my beloved Regional Minister ask him about the list of ‘ongoing’ 1D1F?
- The amount of money injected into each factory in the region?
- Don’t forget to ask Mama Josephine(Regional Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry) when she will reply our months old dust gathering enquiry on 1D1F in the Volta Region?
- Ask her about the number of people employed. When she answers, you certainly know where to find me.
Why is it getting extremely difficult to have an agro-based factory in a resource-rich region with about 442,542 out of 888,271 economically active population engaged in skilled agriculture and forestry (Population and Housing Census, 2010)?
Has Ghana taken a look at how China did it some decades ago? Here, reference is being made to the Transnational Exchanges on Industrial Policy, where, China's post-Mao leaders from the late 1970s actively sought policy advice, advanced technology and investment capital from abroad. The Mao era administrative economy was seen as pressing, policymakers were not looking for a new economic model to transfer wholesale to China but rather for practicable policy recipes that would allow incremental low-risk steps toward solving the most severe bottlenecks in the economic system. In its simplest terms, what needs to be done is not rocket science. Others have done so. We also can!!!
Could His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo become the Moa Zedong of Ghana?
There are certainly many questions that need answers…
Let’s have working factories, enough of the excuses.