It has emerged that the majority of Ghana’s Missions abroad are totally broke, bringing activities at the outfits to a standstill.
Salaries of the staff of the various embassies are not regular, with some receiving their wages piecemeal. Consequently, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, as part of cost-cutting measures, is taking steps to close down some embassies.
Embassies believed to be cash-strapped are those in the United States, South Korea and Brazil among others, where office stationery are hard to come by, with landlords lurking around to eject them from their office accommodation.
Sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Daily Guide that the government is almost ready to close down some of the consulates and South Korea and Brazil are likely to be the first casualties.
According to the sources, salaries are not being paid and staff who are lucky enough to get anything by way of remuneration only receive half payments. Some embassies are not able to purchase even stationery and other basic tools for administrative work, they added.
“Landlords are ejecting us from our houses for non-payment of rent. Our health insurance has been suspended for non-payment. Telephone lines are being disconnected for non-payment of bills. In fact we are really suffering…we need help,” an agonising embassy staff confirmed from a country in the Asia Tigers region.
When reached via telephone, L.K. Christian, Chief Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said he had already granted an interview on the issue to a radio station in Accra and said he could grant further interview to Daily Guide the next day since he was out of the office.
It will come as a shock to many if it is confirmed the embassy in Brasilia, the Brazilian capital, will be closed down, judging from Ghana’s new-found love for contracting loans from the South American giant.
Ghana seems to be shifting its attention from China to Brazil for financial support and the number of high-profile companies queuing up to undertake contracts in the building and construction industry cannot be overlooked.
Leading the pack is Queiroz Galvao Construcao, an energy and construction firm, which has won the heart of the Mahama-led NDC government with juicy but shady contracts.
The company is currently constructing the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange and has also been given the contracts to execute the Kasoa Interchange in the Central Region as well as the ambitious Tamale International Airport in the Northern Region, while the Kumasi central market project is in the pipeline all at high costs.
The Kwame Nkrumah Interchange is priced at €74.88 million, and is jointly financed with credit from the Brazilian Government and the Ghana Government.
The Tamale Airport project is expected to be executed at a cost of $100 million while the Kasoa project is fixed at $172.6 million.
In July 2011, the Mills-Mahama government decided to purchase an Embraer 190 executive jet to serve as a “Strategic Airlift Aircraft” for the Ghana Air Force and at the time of completing the transaction, Ghana was quoted to have agreed to pay a basic price of $55 million for the jet, as opposed to Embraer’s price quote of $28.5 million-$40 million, irrespective of enhanced accessories.
Whilst Ghana’s deal had indicated that the government was buying the Embraer 190 aircraft at $55,264,000, the deal also involved a request for the option of configurations to convert the luxury jet into a military aircraft, bringing the total amount to $88 million.
Configurations to the Embraer 190, as proposed by the Mills-Mahama administration, to convert the luxury jet into a military jet included an extra fuel tank costing $8 million; air staircase costing $1 million and in-flight entertainment of $1.4 million.
It is not clear if the deal went through, since Martin Amidu, a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice claimed that the then President Atta Mills wanted the transaction to be probed.
Source: William Yaw Owusu/Daily Guide
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