The Director General of the State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA), Edward Boateng, has admonished African states to improve upon their negotiation skills, when dealing with the People’s Republic of China, to reap the needed and maximum benefits.
The former Ambassador to China, debunked the claim that the Chinese have ripped off African states and overburdened them with unsustainable debts, and said contracts between China and African states are often negotiated. So all that is needed is strong negotiation skills from Africa.
The SIGA boss, said the presence of the Chinese in Africa and their infrastructural development on the continent, is laudable but poor negotiations on the side of African states often demonize the Chinese as rip-offs.
“What the Chinese have done well in the last twenty years is the development of infrastructure in Africa. Travelling across Africa was difficult, and the Chinese came with the mindset of infrastructural development of Africa and many countries have benefitted.”Edward Boateng
Mr. Boateng noted that “Bui Dam was in the books for a long time and then the Chinese came, and today, we have Bui and there are so many examples of these projects dotted across Africa. I think where Africa needs to do better, is the negotiations. Because we are often weak in negotiations and therefore, something that may cost $100 to do in China, may cost $500 in some African countries.”
He further called for strict measures to regulate the stay of Chinese in Africa to ensure that they follow and respect local laws to prevent them from taking advantage of the loopholes in our systems.
“They come from a very regimented society and when they come into our communities that are so relaxed, we allow them to take advantage of us, and so we have to make sure that when they come in, they have to play by our rules.”Edward Boateng
Lack Of Sanctions To Blame For Poor Public Service Performance
The Director-General of the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA), Edward Boateng, has blamed the low productivity and performance in the public service on the lack of sanctions in the service.
The SIGA boss intimated that, unlike the private sector, which sanctions people for low performance and productivity, same cannot be said for the public service which is often left unguarded without targets expected of staff.
Bemoaning the situation, Mr. Boateng, said “there are no sanctions for non-delivery in Ghana and that is a problem. There are KPIs [key performance indicators], but people don’t enforce the KPIs and what we are doing now, is to ensure that we enforce the government’s KPIs.”
He added that the government has adopted a new approach where workers in the public service sign a performance contract that is reviewed yearly to put low-performing state-owned enterprises and their staff in check.
He however acknowledged that, “there are genuine problems that we have to consider, and we are working through them by instituting an award scheme to reward those who are doing well and also shame those who are not doing well.”
“Like the president said to us in Kwahu, he congratulated TDC [Tema Development Council], and the others at the top but also, those who are at the bottom five are expected to move up,” he further stressed.
He also disclosed that “the responsibility matrix we use is helping to push people who are put in charge need to realize that they have to perform or the torch will shine on them. And so, this is making people to move away from the kiosk mentality, to a corporate mentality and we are making head-ways”.