Will Atta Akyea’s US$90bn really go into infrastructure?

Samuel Atta Akyea, (Minister for Works and Housing)

The Minister for Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, has told the B&FT that the government should consider raising a whopping US$90 billion on the stock market to help bridge the country’s huge infrastructure gap.

All well and good; it is not a bad idea. If we can raise such an amount and apply it to the purpose it can go a long way to boost economic activity and growth. But there lies the big question: Will we apply the money right if it is raised? Such an amount of money will most definitely balloon our public debt, which is already at worrying levels. And it could drift us into further gloom if politicians, technocrats and greedy private actors end up stealing most of it.

Our housing deficit alone is said to be in the region of 1.7 million, not to mention the general infrastructure deficit that includes inadequate roads, bridges and water delivery, to name but a few.

So, we certainly need a lot of money to do these things. But the fact is: if we were managing the monies we already get well, we could solve a lot of these challenges already.

Unfortunately, the cost of maintaining our political office holders is simply too high for us. Most of our monies end up in private pockets, and the most painful part is that which happens through institutionalised corruption. How can we do these things when contract sums are often bloated, with not much to show for it at the end of the day?

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How can we build any serious infrastructure when our politicians busy themselves with buying expensive vehicles for their comfort? It is a betrayal of the state and the people’s trust for our politicians to be buying and driving vehicles and paying themselves allowances that even politicians in developed countries do not get.

So long as the people’s money remains the easiest money to make, our schools will remain under trees, our hospitals will have no beds, and our roads will remain dusty and filled with potholes.

True transformation does not happen in any polity via wishful thinking or self-important talk; true transformation happens in a nation when corruption is severely crushed and reduced to the barest minimum. Need one say that it is the monies that are stolen that would have assisted any thorough-going execution of public goods and social expenditure? So, raise money we must, but it should not end up buying luxury houses and cars for any greedy coterie. The long-suffering masses of our people deserve better.

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