Microeconomics teaches us that there are needs and wants. We also learnt that both needs and wants are meant to be satisfied and in our frantic efforts to satisfy them, we will need resources or inputs but these resources are scarce and therefore difficult to come by.
The scarcity of the required resources to satisfy our needs and wants compels us to draw a scale of preference , a list of our priorities in order of importance and depending on the resources available.
We equally learnt in introductory Economics that one person’s or one organization’s needs may be another’s wants and vice versa. Whatever the situation may be however, needs take precedence over wants on any scale of preference.
From a faith-based perspective, we learnt ecclesiastically from the Bible that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens and one of the two things compared is done at a time. In that same ecclesiastical chapter of the Bible, the question is posed, *What do workers gain from their toil?*(Ecclesiastes 3:9). Put in my own words, what does the ordinary Ghanaian gain from a national cathedral project or from project or from a 450 capacity parliamentary chamber project? What do Ghanaians really get from the huge loans government contracts and make cost of living high by introducing unpleasant taxes?
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Solomon the wisest king of antiquity, advised us, *“Go to the ant, consider her ways and be wise.”* This proverbial verse in the Bible may be interpreted in so many ways and my interpretation of it is that we are cautioned to be futuristic thinkers and to act proactively ; we must be people who prepare adequately for tomorrow so that we don’t handle misfortunes with knee – jerk approaches. To prepare for the future means a lot and it can be preparing economically for survival in the hard times ahead.
It is in tandem with the foregoing good counsels from Economics and from the Bible that national governments including that of Ghana our dear motherland must thoroughly consider several needs and wants necessary for satisfaction to propel the developmental agenda. Once the priorities are misplaced, not well set or well set but executed at the wrong time, it can have exponential impediment effects on the progress of national development.
In Ghana and for that matter in most African countries, one developmental project is started and left undone while another one is begun. Several uncompleted government projects abound in every administrative region of the country. Even though chapter six of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution touching on the Directive Principles of State Policy requires that one political regime should continue the projects started by a previous regime, that is not religiously followed and it slows the progress of development to the detriment of the citizens who are supposed to benefit from those projects.
One can cite as example, several affordable housing projects not completed but new ones are started and either not completed or also left undone. Government goes for loans to start these projects and pay these loans either through harsh taxation or pay by using our natural resources.
Now, we want to build a national cathedral to the glory of God. Clap for us!!! Considering the times, is the cathedral project a want or a need? We need to refer to our Microeconomics lesson notes to answer that question. Government argued that the funds necessary to build the cathedral will not come from the national budget but does that matter? Money donated to the country is supposed to be part of the consolidated fund so whether or not the project will be funded directly from the national budget is a non- starter. We can as well use the donated amount on another project that has been left uncompleted for years.
If indeed we revere God, then we must behave like the Solomonic ant mentioned earlier. After all, the new convenant in the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ teaches Christians that whatsoever you to the least of our brothers (citizens), we do same unto God. In the new testament, it is written that our bodies are the temple of God so our hearts are better cathedrals for the Holy Spirit.
Of what use is a physical cathedral when most Ghanaians live in abject poverty, when potable water is scarce in some communities, when we serious sanitation problems in our cities, when our roads are bad, when there are schools under trees, when pregnant women die preventable deaths, when we don’t have enough ambulances, when we are being kidnapped, when our God given resources are being depleted by foreigners and when so many other problems confront us as a nation. Are we not vindicating President Donald Trump’s derogatory comments about African countries?
This is clearly not the lesson King Solomon of antiquity asked us to learn from the ant and in Microeconomics, our national scale of presence is not well prepared or it is well prepared but being executed wrongly?
I am a Christian but I do not support the earmarked cathedral project because the timing is wrong. On the altar of participatory governance, the President of the Republic told us that we should be citizens and not spectators in national discourse so we need to express our thoughts within the national discourse.
As for the proposed 450 parliamentary chamber project which has led to much controversy so far, we hope that our leaders are not carried away by the elitism posture but rather listen to the voice of the people which we believe is the voice of God.
It is the people who elected the MPs and not the reverse. If indeed parliamentarians are the true representatives of the people in our democratic dispensation, then the MPs must listen to the people they represent in making such sensitive and resource consuming decisions.
Until then, we can only hope for cool heads to prevail so we propel the wheel of development in unison with our leaders. How can we be an oil minig country yet we pay huge for fuel at the pumps with the meagre salaries or unemployment and you want to build cathedral and new parliamentary chamber? *Aaaa, for the where?* Let’s drop them for now.
Article By Philip Afeti Korto