Ghana is growing! Ghana is developing! That is what we keep saying, each time we look at the multi-storey structures springing up in our big cities! We keep saying that, each time we look at the spree of vehicles on our various routes! Each time we look at the new businesses on our markets, this very comment escapes our lips!
Indeed, Ghana is developing, but from which angle? This country seems to be moving, but only in circles! Yes, it is clear we are moving, but this movement keeps bringing us back to the starting point; we are moving in circles! Our scale of development or growth can only be measured with a regressive scale! No progression! Only regression!
How many Ghanaians can boast of access to a basic utility? It is an undeniable fact that in Ghana today, access to potable water is a major problem confronting us all; be it in the city or village! When it comes to the issue of electricity, it is a nightmare!
Each day in Ghana, we hear a new story; a new excuse! Sometime back, it was about inadequate water for power production! Later, it was about the breakdown of machines! After a while, we were told it was routine maintenance and perhaps upgrading! Last year, much to everyone’s relieve, Ghanaians we were assured that the power rationing would be over by the end of the year. It is 2013, and things seem to have only worsened!
At least, the power cuts last year were scheduled! This time around, there is no schedule! No rationing! As always, there is an excuse! The Ghanaian always has an excuse prepared as to why something was not done! Instead of trying to actually carry out the task or find a solution to a problem, all we ever do is prepare an excuse; a reason not to get something done!
Our Honourable Electricity Company of Ghana, as always, has reasons! The reason being that some companies are defaulting; they are not paying their bills! Ironically however, most of these companies are governmental; as usual! If so, are we all then supposed to suffer? Why must we all be punished when we know the perpetrators? Somehow, the management of ECG sees no crime being committed! They see no injustice because to them, it is no loss to the consumer! No power, less bills! That seems to be their slogan, and they want us to endorse it! What then becomes of the Ghanaian business man or woman, who needs power to make ends meet? We have been told that it is a power rationing, but I do not see any rationing! In fact, a lot of us are in perpetual darkness! What then is the rationing? Can there be an actual power rationing, when there is no power at all? At the end of each month however, people are served with bills! Bills for nothing! Only in Ghana!
As if that is not enough, our water supply is no different! No electricity! No water! And what is the excuse this time? None! The Ghanaian prefers to sit and watch as all the equipments, meant for the production, supply, and distribution of both electricity and water all breaks down, before something is done! Are people really working in their respective offices or companies? A lot of businesses are bearing the consequences! In our various homes, the story is no different! Our appliances are at their mercy! When it comes to water, we are all at the mercy of a potential hygiene-related epidemic! At the end of the month, the water bill comes in! No water, yes bill!
In the wake of industrialization in Ghana, the issue of power and water supply becomes paramount! It can be counterproductive! Each day, our government goes out extending her arms to foreign investors. These investors need power and water in meeting their business demands! How then do we expect a major turn out when our basic structures are non-functional? As a country, we ought to get our priorities right! Most of our local businesses are suffering! What then becomes of the new entrants? Ghana’s inadequate and unreliable power and water supply is a major threat to her growth and development! We need to start finding lasting solutions to this problem! If we want to take pride in calling this nation, a developing one, we need to start finding solutions to our problems, because they are all related to our so-called development!
Our main problem as a country has to do with our maintenance culture! Yes, our poor maintenance culture! It makes no difference how many plants we build, if we do not learn to maintain our structures! We only sit and wait for our machines to breakdown, before the right thing is done!
What is the government doing to ensure that this periodic or perhaps consistent and persistent power outages and water shortages become a thing of the past? It is obvious that the Public-Private Partnership by the government in the area of water supply and distribution still has some loop-holes! What about our electricity; are there any workable plans to ensure consistency in their delivery? What does our Public Utility Regulatory Commission have to say? From all indications, our utility regulatory commission itself is not functioning! Ghanaians are waiting!
Anna Esi Hanson (firstname.lastname@example.org), credited to Nana Appiah-Agyei (email@example.com), Takoradi.