By: Prof. Anthony Mawuli Sallar |
On Friday, social media was awashed with the appointment of one Mr. Alexander Y. Adusei Jr, aka AY, the current NPP Chairman in Columbus Ohio, USA as Director of the non-existent Keta Port. The appointment letter was addressed to the Board Chairman of Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority. The letter had stamps of dates it was received by the various outfits.
I had no doubt about the authenticity of the letter and I was wondering why President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would appoint an individual to a non-existing port in Keta. A number of questions come to mind:
- Is the President setting up Mr. Alexander Adusei Jr. aka AY to fail just like some of his Diasporean appointees such as Mr. Edward Osei Kofi (aka Cohana) who was at Tema Port and performed so abysmally that made one wonder; Mr Boakye Agyarko aka Torino as Energy Minister; and the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Mr. Kwame Owusu who was accused of financial misappropriation by spending millions of cedis to renovate his official bungalow in addition to spending 135,125 GHS in one night, on food, drinks and music, for an end-of-year dinner party on December 22, 2017. He was also accused of another obscene expenditure of 10,652 GHS made one night on food and drinks for 8 people at a meeting!! After sober reflection, I concluded that our President, acting like an Emperor, in a typical “El Supremo” fashion since assuming the presidency or “throne”, does not have the wherewithal to engage in that political sophistry. I concluded it to be just another job for the boys and having no clue as to what the appointment or job description entails.
- There is no port so what is the Director of Port in Keta going to direct?
- Can’t the President wait until the port is constructed before appointing the director?
This appointment stinks to the high heavens and should be condemned unequivocally by all well-meaning Ghanaians. We over borrow to pay for recurrent expenditure and wonder why the economy is not gaining traction, and the cedi keeps its perennial depreciation against major currencies. Does this President really care for the welfare of Ghanaians?
Mr. Adusei will be provided a V8 car, draw a monthly salary of at least 20,000 GHS, get free fuel, a driver, free accommodation and a minimum staff of 5 with their total emoluments. His outfit may cost the tax payers at least 300,000 GHS a month. If Ghana’s Emperor wants to satisfy his party apparatchiks, he should go ahead and do what he has been doing with callous impunity. Mr Adusei should be sent somewhere to feed on the public purse and not to a phantom Keta port.
In Ghana, we have the propensity to give credit and respect to people who may not have it. At this point, I doubt if the President and his advisors know the difference between the functions of the Director General of a Port (CEO) or those of the Director of Port (COO). The latter is a technical job and requires the occupant to know the language, technical details etc. The position of the COO must of necessity be a MARITIME PROFESSIONAL. The CEO needs not necessarily be a Maritime Professional but ironically, the current CEO (DG) is a maritime professional. Some functions of the Director of Ports, who by definition is the Chief Operating Officer of the ports are:
- Putting measures in place to ensure quick turnaround of ships calling at the port. The measures should ensure increased ship productivity and measures for a safe and sustainable working environment.
- Chairperson of the Port Advisory Committee, (different from the Port Community), under the Director General. The Port Advisory Committee Chairman should be in a position to address technical issues confronting shipping lines, Freight Forwarders, and the numerous statutory state actors in the port.
- As Director of Port, he/she should be conversant with the workings of the International Maritime Organisation, International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) and their impacts on Port operations.
The Director of Port should be in a position to distinguish between Freight ton and Deadweight ton and its implications on port revenue. He/she should know what port traffic is and what port throughput is. He is not supposed to learn on the job as Mr. Adusei’s appointment stands to.
From time immemorial, even under President Kuffour, this position has been filled with people with background in ports. All the Directors mentioned below had their initial training in disciplines other than the Maritime sector, but as international best practice, had the necessary grounding to prepare them for their speciliased roles as Directors of Ports.
- Mr. John Aidoo, of blessed memory, a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport
- Captain J. E. Quansah, a Master Mariner and product of World Maritime University, Malmo, Sweden
- .Mr. N.P Galley, a product of the World Maritime University
- Mr. Gordon Anim, a product of the Cardiff University
- Mrs. Sandra Opoku, a product of the International Maritime Law Institute, Malta and also holds a certificate of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Train for Trade Programme
It is only under Ghana’s El Supremo, Nana Addo that the position has been watered down by appointing Mr. Edward Osei Kofi (Tema Port) and Mr. Adusei (non-existent Keta Port). These 2 gentlemen are lawyers and have ZERO experience in the industry to serve as Directors.
Just as no sensible person will appoint a lawyer, no matter the years of court practice if the lawyer has no experience in the financial world to become the Chief Operating Officer of a bank, why should we as Ghanaians allow that to be done at our port? Even though managing a port may not be rocket science, it is a specialised area and not any average Joe can manage it.
The Keta Port if it ever comes to fruition, like the Takoradi Port, will be under GPHA so the Director will be responsible for operational decisions which Mr. Adusei has no clue about. Can a University appoint a Professor to become its Registrar simply because he is an academician? So why should we stand idly for these appointments?
The Keta Port, according to my research, is essentially to service Diamond Cement which currently uses Lome Port. I call on Ghanaians not to be spectators but citizens as our Emperor has been urging us. We cannot sit unconcerned or view through political jaundiced prisms some of these appointments. It is very disappointing and disheartening to read from friends that this appointment is going to create jobs for Voltarians.
To hear Ghanaian citizens make comments accepting these practices and making statements like “everybody does it”, “let the President satisfy his boys”, “we all know that appointments by Ghanaian presidents aren’t necessarily based on knowledge and experience but rather on patronage” etc is very disparaging.
At what point do we begin to say enough is enough? Is this the nation we want to leave for our children? Just like the cathedral had characters pushing it without any regard to the destruction of current structures we have, the same is seen with the Keta Port appointment. Is this really Ghana?
Mr. President, please withdraw the appointment and give Mr. Adusei something else where his expertise could be used to benefit our beloved country.
NB: The writer is a Professor at GIMPA. He has a doctorate degree in Epidemiology and has interests in Ethics, Governance, and Political Economy.