GETFund brouhaha must not divide us unduly

Ever since the beginning of the week, both social media and media houses in the country, have been awash with comments from Ghanaians from all walks of life on the recent Auditor-General’s report indicating that some well-placed individuals in society benefited from a GETFund scholarship scheme meant for ‘brilliant but needy’ students.

While opinions are divided over whether or not certain well placed people in society who benefited from the GETFund scholarship can be classified as needy, the B&FT finds the issue quite befuddling. The definition of a ‘needy’ person is not far-fetched.

According to the third edition of the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, a needy person as an adjective is ‘poor and not having enough food, clothes etc.’, while as a plural noun: ‘the needy’ is defined as poor people.

Based on the above definitions, we cannot wrap ourselves over the fact that parliamentarians cannot be classified as poor people in the classic sense of the word, so how do they qualify as being needy. This is a clear case of abuse of power, or better still, influence-peddling.

What is adding insult to injury is the lengths some are engaging in trying to justify the indefensible. To stretch the argument even further, the World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than US$1.90 per day, and moderate poverty as less than US$3.10 a day. Can these well-placed individuals of Ghanaian society really beat their chest and claim they fit into either bracket? Your guess is as good as us!

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We are even at a loss  that certain people whose names were found on the list but claim they did not receive the facility would be pointing their guns at the Administrator to find out who benefited from those funds are rather up in arms with the AG.

Another worrying development is how the Auditor-General is being assailed and denigrated for simply performing his constitutional duty. Are we saying there should be no oversight in the public sphere? Without accountability our democracy would be worthless and as a nation, we need to take cognizance of that.

The Principal Auditor at the Audit Service, Alberta Awoo, explained that the audit also sought to discover whether GETFund, was acting in tandem with its mandate. We believe this is a very legitimate course to pursue in view of the fact that the GETFund Act 2000, Act 581 has a specific mandate.

Objective (b) of the Act is quite specific and that is ‘to provide supplementary funding to the Scholarship Secretariat for the grant of scholarships of gifted but needy students for studies in the second-cycle and accredited tertiary institutions in Ghana’.

The persons cited were given scholarships to pursue studies abroad. Need we say more?!

Company’s Act must be adhered to

Ghana’s Company’s Act requires that all registered business re-register and file their returns with the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) to attest that they are in continuous operation, or still in existence.

That notwithstanding, more than 670,000 businesses in the country have flouted this provision which has over-bloated the business register, and gives the false impression that they are active and doing serious business in the country.

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Thankfully, this will remain a thing of the past as the Registrar General, Jemima Oware, is determined to right the wrongs of yesteryear and ensure businesses adhere to the Company’s Act. Consequently, Mrs. Oware is kick-starting the provisions in the Act and will put out notices asking these businesses to come and re-register within two months.

Failure to comply with the grace period granted by the RGD, it will mean the affected businesses will be taken off the list of registered companies until the next 12 years; which will mean they cannot do any business in Ghana during the period.

Already, a number of businesses have expressed misgivings about the timelines since they want it extended to enable most, if not all businesses, to fully comply with the Company’s Act. To be truthful, this action should have been a long time ago if not for negligence and a failure to uphold the provisions of the Act.

Mrs Oware further asserted that, out of the over one million registered businesses in the Department’s database, barely 10 percent of the registered businesses had filed their returns. To this end, the Registrar General’s Department plans to establish the Office of the Registrar of Companies (ORC).

The establishment of the ORC is in accordance with provisions made by the new Companies Act, 2019 (Act 992) and will be autonomous; a separate entity from the Registrar-General’s Department.

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