Former President John Dramani Mahama has charged Ghanaian Diasporans to intensify the fight against corruption in Ghana because the practice demoralises and dampens the spirits of investors.
Mr Mahama, who was speaking at the 40th-Anniversary of the Ghana Union UK in London, stated that Ghanaian Diasporans who come home to invest are unnerved when they find themselves, right from our airport and seaports, having to pay bribes and tips to staff who are paid to provide the services they require.
“This has the effect of demoralising and dampening the spirit of the potential diaspora investor.”
He explained that many diasporans live in countries where corruption has been minimised or completely eradicated, hence, would be able to help the fight against corruption in the country with the good morals they have learnt from those countries.
He also indicated that though it takes leadership and commitment to win the fight against corruption, as a nation, we have a collective duty to fight and win the corruption battle together, and hence, called on them to support.
Mr Mahama also spoke about the work ethics of Ghanaians and how it was affecting the development of the country.
He said that some ethics are so bad that some investors have complained bitterly about it.
Narrating some stories he heard, Mr Mahama said: “I have also heard harrowing stories from diaspora investors about our work ethic and attitudes back home. In the early days when we passed the Local Content Act for the oil industry, a returnee investor who won a contract to meet and pick up oil company executives lost the contract because the driver who was to pick the executives up at the airport left them stranded for almost three hours. The simple reason was that he had failed to check his spare tyre, so when one of the tyres had a puncture on the way to the airport, the spare tyre was not in a condition to be used to replace the damaged tyre.”
He also cited other instances where an investor was shocked to learn that half of his staff were late to work because it had rained that day.
As for the excuse duty on health grounds, funerals of uncle and aunties and distant relatives, it is a daily occurrence, the former President said.
He opined that the lack of dedication and diligence was a collective indictment on us all, and was principally due to a lack of effective supervision at the workplace.
He, however, said that Ghana can do away with all these negative work ethics. He said during his administration there was a programme dubbed “Gateway Programme “which improved efficiency, reduced corruption and increased the speed of service at the ports of entry, so it was not something that is unachievable.
“It can be done, and we have done it before. The lesson is that we must not let our guards down, because, often when we do, there is a reversal and it becomes business as usual.”