Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Dear Sir,

I have read your column piece on AVRL and the GWCL saga. Useful commentary on a topical public policy matter I must say but I am worried by some of the claims you make. You assert that " human resource is the least" of the problems GWCL faced because it has some of the best engineers. But the question we must ask without sullying the image of the engineers there is how come GWSL needed AVRL in the first place? You defense is that politics is to blame. If that is so how then do you blame AVRL for all the woes of GWCL? 

I find your claim that Ghana has no problem with human resource quite puzzling. Do we even have data on the professionals we have in various professions? How many Ph.Ds does Ghana have and medical doctors and computers scientists and mathematicians etc? The minister of employment and social welfare just recently bemoaned the absence of labour statistics; that should tell you something about the gaps in this seductive claim that all is well with Ghana's human resource base. I mean look at our roads and other infrastructure. They tell a story of the challenges we face with manpower.I think that the excoriation of AVRL(which I humbly think your piece reflects) has taken a certain nationalistic tone bordering on the jingoistic. That will not serve Ghana well. Again you mention "wheel barrow and shovels" and the management contract that Ghana entered into with AVRL; does management involve such tools? Please tell me. Does President Atta Mills need such tools to run Ghana?

The great Nkrumah did not shy away from using foreign minds as and when necessary. His economic policy advisers for example included Europeans(see Tony Killick's latest work on Ghana). The Chinese have used foreign expertise as and when necessary( the Shanghai skyline for example has the stamp of Western architects; and note that the West has been China's arch enemy historically). Again in the run up to the Beijing Olympics Steven Spielberg was hired to advise on the choreography for the opening ceremony. Indeed a lily white man Shapiro is one of the core members of the Chinese Communist Party. Indeed to be able to tap into expertise wherever it comes from intelligently shows confidence in oneself instead of a cringing capitulation and loss of national honour as you suggest.

I think that sobriety is needed to interrogate this AVRL matter. I recently used the AVRL(after they left; or their "demise" -to borrow your words)  sms code 1700 to report a fault: I drew a blank. I called the Operations Room of the GWCL; the reaction was hostile. I was simply calling to report a burst pipe in my area and was led on a merry go round using my units to call area managers. The AVRL customer system worked; at least in my experience. AVRL might not have met all its targets; the key question is why and the answer does lie in the retort that the problems arose because non-Ghanaians were involved. Nationalism is important and I support you on that; but when it enforces blindness to our weaknesses that becomes debilitating hubris.

Fokofi please come again o this one.

Best wishes

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