ECG, Ghana – “Domsor” My Own Personal Experience Today!


There is a general saying that if something does not personal happen to you, you do not appreciate the effect of what that thing has had on others. The Electricity Corporation Of Ghana has had to adopt some very strict processes due to various reasons and as a result has been rationing Electricity to homes, factories and companies for some years now. An attempt to find the real cause for this has been futile; there is no one specific reason. When this all kicked off, I was made to believe that it was due to the lack of rainfall and hence the low water levels at the Akosombo Dam. It appears – from Google – that the reasons are uncountable.
So this is how Domsor (by the way, the term “Domsor” as I understand it, means the unreliable and frequent power cuts and power restore typically in the city of Accra, Ghana) made my day.

If you recall (if not, check out this link ) I mentioned that I was planning a project to change the face of Nyaniba. Briefly, this involved demolishing the current building on Plot 22 and erecting the two storey building. After careful consideration, I final selected a contractor whom I was going to go with. With several emails and sketches going back and forth, we came to an agreement on a final sketch and I instructed him to proceed with the Architectural, Structural and Design drawings. Being eager to get the drawings done as soon as possible so that I can get a Bill Of Quantities and then subsequently determine if I had enough money to fund the project, I made a trip to the local Post Office in Wellingborough, UK and had what they call a Global Priority delivery of a cheques sent to the Architect, Justice. I paid 59 quid for the service and was told that it would get to the addressee in 9 days from leaving the UK Hub. From the tracking system in place on Parcel Force website, I was able to confirm that the cheque left the UK on the 30th of August. A mental calculation told me that Justice would certainly receive the cheque by, tops, the 10th of September.

Fast forwarding things up, I got messages from Justice informing me that he still had not received the cheque. I called EMS in Accra today and was given a number for their Customer Care/Service. I tried calling the number but was not successful, so I called the first number I was given for EMS again. This time the chap who answered the phone took my tracking number and then asked me for my  number so that he could call me back with some information. Unfortunately he stopped me just after I had started with +44… and said he could not call back to an international number. Sweet. Desperate to get to the bottom of where the cheque was, I quickly said I would call back in 15 minutes. I called back in 15, as promised only to be told that he could not check the whereabouts of my registered letter on their computer system because they were currently experiencing a “Domso” moment.
I don’t know, but for some reason, I suddenly started laughing. The chap on the other end wanted to know why I was laughing. I did not bother to give him an answer, but on a serious note, I fail to see how EMS can let “Domso” affect their business. For a business that other international Postal Services depend on, what happened to purchasing a medium sized generator to run, at least, the computers onsite.

I have some shares in FAN Milk Ghana, and monitor the value of the shares, from a regular newsletter I get from CAL Brokers. One that I received recently was a PDF document – Fan Milk Ghana/HYR 2014 Earnings Review. Of interest was the below snippet (underlined emphasis, mine):

Sluggish revenue growth due to weak consumer confidence: FML has reported
weak revenue growth of 6.2% YoY compared to the historical average growth rate
of 22.0% during FY 2009-13 periods. The weak revenue performance was driven
by the slow-down in Ghanaian economy since FY 2013 due to high fiscal deficit,
unreliable power supply and weak foreign exchange position.

The Ghanaian Governement cannot expect companies already running a business in Ghana to make substantial profits, or assist in the growth of the economy by employing people if they cannot be assured constant power supply. It is not rocket science. Eventually these companies are going to move their operations/businesses elsewhere.

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The Truth About Beats by Dre!


Last night I watched another awesome YouTube video by a tech reviewer called Marques Brownlee. If you missed it, check out the link below.

I woke up this morning and Marques had made a posting on his Google+ Account:
MBThe funny thing this is that Marques is not the only Tech reviewer on YouTube who has made a Tech review on Beats by Dr Dre. If you do a quick search on YouTube using “Beats by Dre” you will find a whole list of reviews either praising them of knocking them as useless. Interesting enough, Marques has made other Tech reviews on Beats by Dre way back in February 2012 ‘”ATH-M50 vs Beats by Dre Pro, plus a mini rant.” – Uploaded on 14 Feb 2012″. Dr Dre did not want to talk to him then. Nor did Dr Dre, as far as I know, want to to talk to the other reviews os his product.
So Apple now buys Beats and they now want to talk to, I presume, to the first person who has made a review on their product. There is a lot to take away from Apples sudden interest in Marques’ review, and I will leave you to list them in the comments section. My only advice to Marques though is that he takes a lawyer with him [if he is having this talk at Apple offices].

I will be interested, if Marques is allowed to reveal the contents of this meeting to the general public, what was actually discussed in this meeting.
Anyway, nice one Marques – keep up the good work. Whatever the outcome of this “talk” with Apple, don’t let it stop you from reviewing the iPhone 6 when it comes out! ;-)

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Ghana Parliament – The Need For proper Email Communication.


I do not know what exactly  prompted me to go digging, but I vaguely remember reading a Twit from one person to another. The first person making the Twit appeared to be a member of Parliament in Ghana. I was not too sure so I did a quick Google of his name and got the confirmation that he was actually a Member Of the Ghanaian Parliament. The confirmation was from the Ghana Parliamentary website. So that was good enough for me. Then something struck me. His email address was listed as a “@yahoo.com”. I did a quick scan of other members of parliament of the Ghana Parliamentary website and noted that there were a few others that had “@yahoo.com” email address. Some even did not have an email address!

I found this very strange. So it means that if one member of parliament wants to send an email – lets say a sensitive email – to another, it has to be routed from one “yahoo.com” account to another. Since most of the members listed do not have email addresses it means that exchange of emails is something that hardly occurs. Coming from an IT back ground I was expecting that there would be a proper utilisation of a  mail server, setup to cater for all members of parliament. The lack of proper utilisation of mail server can be attributed to various reasons. I will let make you suggestions in the comments section. What comes as a surprise to me is that when you go to the “Contact Us” page, there is a “info@parliament.gh” and “webtech@parliament.gh” email address. So the question is, why have all the Members of Parliament not been given a valid “@parliament.gh” email address?

To get a comparison, I took a look at the Parliamentary Site for members of Parliament in the UK. The result was totally different. So lets take a look.

Here is the link to the Ghana Parliamentary WebSite => http://www.parliament.gh
I
 must admit, most of the names that I sampled do not have an email address! The ones below are using their own personal email addresses. One does not have an email address.

This is the link for the UK Parliamentary WebSite => http://www.parliament.uk

So you can see what I am getting at in terms of my comparison. My next step will be to send an email to info@parliament.gh and ask why every member of parliament listed on the website does not have a valid “@parliament.gh” email address. If I do get a response, I wonder what the response will be.

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Christenings – Just Love Them: Amelie’s Christening


I love Christenings, even though I do not attend as many of them as I should do for someone who loves these events. Last week, I got an invite to attend one which was hosted in a little village called Stanwick, not far from where I live.

But before I continue to narrate events of that day and share optics taken, I would like to share an article I came across on the internet, buried in the archives of the New York Times. Essentially it saves me the trouble of explaining to you what an Outdooring is and what it involves. The article does a good job on this. From my personal experiences of outdoorings that I have attended in Ghana, these occasions are more intricate and detailed when performed in Ghana as a lot of other things are taken into account in preparation for that special day.

Naadu, Ewurabena and I arrived about 10 minutes early, found a spot to park and made out way into this lovely English medieval  church. The ceremony did not take that long, after which we all made track to an English pub not far away for food and drinks.
On the flip side, I also love Ghanaian Outdooring Ceremonies. Ghana being quite diverse in its culture, there are obviously different formats these Outdoorings take depending on the tribe/region the couple hosting the ceremony are from. What strikes out immediately at a Ghanaian Outdooring are the colourful traditional clothes worn by guests.

I have not been to a Ghanaian Outdooring Ceremony for quite a while, so I have made it one of my calendar events to attend one on my next visit to Ghana this September.

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Ghana Education Service employs 40,000 drivers – Nii Moi Thompson


GES_Drivers

I stumbled across this on someones Facebook page and decided to give it some space and attention on my Blog. For quite some time now, I have not been surprised by the events that have been unfolding in Ghana. Not that I have become used to them but rather I know that one day – not too far away, the ordinary Ghanaian will rise up and start kicking the backside of those politicians who think they can fool the ordinary Ghanaian forever. As mentioned on a Google+ post on something entirely different, I find it extremely hard to understand all these ministers and other Government officials who occupy very prominent positions fail to show any sort of management skills/intellect in terms of running their respective departments. To make matters worse, these are officials who have been chosen to run whatever departments they have been assigned to because they have been vetted and subsequently passed the vetting process as being qualified.

So lets break this piece of news yanked from Accra City Times down:

An Economic Advisor to the President, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson has revealed that the Ghana Education Service(GES) currently employs about 40, 000 drivers.
According to him, majority of these drivers are redundant, but they have been added to the national payroll, thus increasing government’s expenditure

OK, so as not to shoot myself in the foot, I made my way to Google and did a search for the meaning of the word “redundant”. Obviously there were several hits, but I went for the Oxford Dictionary meaning. This is what is say:

“No longer in employment because there is no more work availableeight permanent staff were made redundant

So how does say 5,000 drivers [for arguments sake] get added to the payroll if they have been made redundant because there is no longer any work for them?

Dr. Thompson stated that the number of people on Ghana’s payroll, is 11 percent higher than that of the UK.

I am not going to even ask how he came about this figure, but once again, working on the basis of assumptions, does this not strike to someone [I am referring to those appointed to run the GES and those to watch over it] as alarming?

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Tsegah said the criticisms against the GES’ move were unfounded since the number of drivers accurately corresponds with vehicles within the service.

How is this even mathematically possible when the economic advisor has mentioned that “a majority” of these drivers are redundant?

“GES is not a small organization; we are talking about an organization that spans the length, breadth, width and every part of the country”
“We are talking about 37,000 basic schools, we are talking about secondary schools, we are talking about administrative structures, we are talking about a number of institutions,”Mr. Tsegah said.
According to him, every single driver deployed by the GES plays an important role in the sector.
“If you have an institution of such a national magnitude you need drivers so you cannot just say that we have 40,000 drivers and want everybody to giggle about it. This is a serious matter”

This is what my face book friend questioned in a comment on her FB page:

“SOMEBODY tell me that with 40000 vehicles and 37000 basic schools, CHILDREN who need it are bussed to school in Ghana.
In his rebuttal, the DGES mentions 37,000 basic schools and I wish he’d added the numbers of secondary schools and tertiary institutions and what they need 40,000 cars and drivers for. Do they bus children to basic school? Does each basic school have a car or two assigned to them? In my day, boarding schools had a boneshaker or two with the school name painted on it, so maybe the number of secondary schools and tertiary institutions would be a more useful figure. The DGES is going to have to explain better about why they need 40,000 drivers. Details are important when numbers are mentioned.”

 

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The Shame Of Lavender Hill


I sincerely have hope that despite what is currently going on in all aspects of the Ghanaian economy, the country will lift  itself out of the current situation it is in and be managed properly by leaders who have vision. Fortunately or unfortunately for me I have witnessed the gradual change from good to bad since arriving in Ghana in 1970 till this present day. You may walk around the capital if Ghana, Accra and see all these high rise buildings going up, you may also see all the fly overs that have been constructed and are being constructed; and you may smile and say to yourself that Ghana is moving ahead in development. But when you actually sit back and do some deep reflection, do you really think that from what Dr Kwame Nkrumah had as a vision for Ghana and what he set rolling as his dream of a better Ghana; does the question still linger, has Ghana really developed?

Personally, I am of the opinion that Ghana has lost sight of the obvious and ignorantly ignored what needs to be taken care of. The average Ghanaian is ignorant. He/she is wrapped up in performing the basic need – surviving, and thus has no time to educate him/her self.

The Youtube Video will educate you on what is happening, what should not happen and what should happen [which will be your conclusion].

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Startup Success Stories – It Is Possible In Ghana.


I have so much respect for people who have for what ever reason[s] taken the plunge and started their own business, especially in Ghana. My main focus of course is in Information Technology. Considering the environment one finds him or herself in, kudos to those who are able to take the step towards full filling their dreams. For each Success Story that I read about, the more I am driven to chase my own goals of setting up my own company in Accra, Ghana.

Several trips to Ghana over the past years has educated me to the fact that Ghana is moving forward in terms of technological advancements. There is still a long way to go, however the gap is fast being closed with people in Technology chasing after their dreams.

One story I came across today was that of a lady called Regina Agyare. Regina Agyare is the CEO of Soronko Solutions.

‘When you have a dream and a desire, it is like an alarm clock goes off inside of you. Turning the snooze button does not work, as the alarm will go off again. You just have to wake up.’

Check out Regina’s piece on Lean In

 

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