GHANA’S ECONOMY is in crises. The national currency is on a free fall, gaping fiscal deficit, high inflation, coupled with a general economic hardship, has necessitated a national dialogue for consensus on how to salvage the situation. In the government’s own admission, the meat on the economy is down to the bone.
But the opulence in government’s expenditure, and the willful waste of the ‘bony’ resources left to glaring corruption in the face of the worsening economic conditions is what beats the imagination of many Ghanaians. At the plush, four star Senchi Royal Hotel, situated on the west bank of the Volta River, in the Eastern Region of Ghana, over 400 selected participants are meeting to formulate ideas on how to transform the ailing Ghanaian economy in a touch of class and luxury. At a venue where leisure meets luxury, accommodation for the participants for the four-day forum comes at a huge cost to the state.
Checks by The Chronicle reveal that the river view rooms, the least of the rates at the hotel, cost $240 a night, while the river suites cost $560 a night. The hotel’s Picathartes Suite goes for the “best available rate” of $3,000 per night. Going by the average rate for the river suit, which cost $560 a night, for all 400 participants, the state will end up with a bill of $224,000 per head, culminating into $896,000 for the period of the forum.
This conservative estimate does not include food and drinks for the participants for the four day forum. Ironically, this is a forum meant to find solutions to the economic hardship prevailing in the country. It is estimated that the total cost to the tax payer well exceeds $1.5 million. The choice of the venue, and the potentially huge bills that would be eventually be borne by the Ghanaian tax payer, has sent tongues wagging.
Many have argued that there are many facilities such as the International Conference Centre and the Presidential Lounge at Peduase which could have been used to save the public purse. Meanwhile, it is the belief of many Ghanaians that the current economic crisis the country finds itself in is the ripple effect of how money did the politicking in the run-up to the 2012 general elections.
Many have also blamed the naked thievery of state funds through dubious judgment debts, and questionable contracts, for the current economic situation. President John Dramani Mahama is, however, optimist that the Forum will achieve its goal of formulating ideas to improve the economy.
The opposition New Patriotic Party has boycotted the forum onreasons that the forum is only a public relations gimmick by the government to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians.
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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