Sitting on Gold and looking for money in condom taxes

Posted by By at 23 July, at 18 : 08 PM Print

Sitting on Gold and looking for money in condom taxes

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Sitting on Gold and looking for money in condom taxes



Femi, Femi, Femi!

Yes, what is it? Why do you have to scream my name so loudly?

Femi, how many times did I call your name?

Please let me be, what type of question is that? What is the matter with you?

Hmmm. Do you think that our leaders are correct up there?

What type of question is that; what do you mean if they are correct up there? Up where?

Figure of speech, figure of speech. Do you think that those that govern us are capable of thinking at all?

You! I beg leave me alone o! In this age of PRISM and eaves-dropping and with governments listening and monitoring everything, do you want to put me in trouble?

Honestly, Femi Akomolafe, do you think that people in our government can think? Just take a look at this:

“Only Luxurious Condoms Will Be Taxed – Government”

“Deputy Minister of Information and Media Relations, Mr Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed has revealed Government will only tax luxurious condoms.

Speaking at daily meet the press at the Flagsaff House in Accra, he noted: “It is not all condoms that will be taxed. There are luxurious condoms that are very expensive and those are the condom that will be taxed.”

According to him, the tax will allow consumers who cannot afford luxurious condoms to patronize the cheaper ones.

The debate over taxes being placed on condoms in Ghana has raged on for several days on several media platforms. A former Member of Parliament for the Ahafo Ano South constituency, Stephen Balado Manu maintaining that “the move could undermine the fight against HIV/AIDS and other STDs.”

The Deputy Minister of Information however said government was still considering the issue.

“The Finance committee will take a look at the proposal and make a decision based on the proposal.”

He cautioned critics of the new tax to be wary of the fact that the decision was still at the proposal stage, hence the need to proceed with caution.”

Yes, I have read it, what is wrong with a government imposing tax on any item that it deemed fit for taxation?

You, too, Femi. You just don’t get it, do you?

Get what? Governments have the sovereign rights to impose taxes, what is your beef with that?

Do you mean to tell me that a whole government, a whole cabinet met and on their agenda was an item on how to tax condom? C’mon, Femi, there is something seriously wrong here.

Like what, dear friend?

Like the simple issue that it is grossly insulting, even alarming, that we do not have the men and the women in our government that are capable of thinking outside the box. From Tarkwa in the Western to Wa in the Upper West Region, Ghana sits literally and figuratively on gold. And gold is just one of the innumerable minerals under our soil. We have abundant Manganese and we have recently joined the ranks of oil-producing nations. Why on earth are we so bereft of creative ideas that we could only think of making money from condoms!

Why do you think that our leaders have not considered all those you said, and what exactly is wrong with taxing condoms.

Everything, Femi, everything. Everything is wrong with a richly-blessed country like ours where leaders cannot think of how to make money apart from imposing taxes on condoms. Why, Femi, why with all our natural resources all our government could come up with is to tax condom? This is serious. Ours is like the case of someone who sits by the riverside and continue to wash face with spittle.

You and your proverbs. All you said could be true, but they did not negate the argument that government has the right to impose tax on any item it chooses.

Sorry, Femi, but it is exactly those types of jejune arguments that has kept us where we are today. And you and I know that we are solidly at the bottom, at the rung of every measure we use to measure human progress. It is exactly our lack of capacity to think big; our inability to be audacious that is the bane of our lack of progress. It pains me greatly that I live in country, so richly blessed and yet have leaders sitting down to consider options and all they could come up with are ways and how to raise money from taxing condoms. Our ambitions should be made of sterner stuffs, to quote Shakespeare. Tchaah!

As usual, all we hear from arm-chair critics like you are just criticisms. What suggestions have you got?

Femi, that is grossly unfair. I have proffered some ideas. No, I did my bit. I think our problem go far beyond mere suggestions. No, it is no longer a matter of suggestions. It is a matter of changing mindsets. We need to change our mindsets; change our total outlook of life that makes us think simple thoughts. We need to think big and dream big, lest we continue with the pedestrian mindsets that has led us to our present mess and will not get us anywhere.

You still didn’t say a single think you will suggest as alternative.

Alternatives abound all around us, if only we will read and learn. We can borrow a leaf from what other people have done.

Like, for example?

Like the Iranians, the Venezuelans and recently our brothers in Zimbabwe.

Now, please don’t make me laugh. So, all you can come up with as examples are some discredited regimes that have not even managed to get their own acts together!

Discredited by whom? That is another of our problems, we believe too much in what other people tell us that we find it difficult to think our own thoughts. If we begin from the simple premise propounded by one of Africa’s most eminent economists, Professor Adebayo Adedeji: “Any economic policy that marginalizes people is doomed to failure,” we need no further argument that we need to change gear and stop believing the orthodox theories that have been brow-beaten into our skulls. Take for example the mining sector. Go to Obuasi and see how devastated the town that has produced so much gold and made so many multi-national companies stupendously rich is. Obuasi today is a shell (you can say a shell-shocked) of a city. The town that has given so much of wealth is today a dilapidated and a total eye-sore. We need no further argument than Obuasi that we have mis-managed the mining sector and squandered all the riches the gods have given us. And prosperity we judge us harshly.

And do you suggest we go back to the discredited policies of nationalization?

Another one of our big problems is that we continue to believe everything we are told. What more evidence do we need to know that the current economic regime we run is totally discredited and totally bankrupt. What more evidence do we need to search for to know that it is not only stupid but suicidal to continue on the same path?

But the three countries you mentioned are hardly any recommendation for economic prosperity.

It all depends on how you look at it. There is what is called national pride; a commodity sorely lacking in our part of the world. We have been so thoroughly chloroformed that we cannot consider ourselves as anything but a beggar nation. We are so thoroughly brainwashed that we cannot believe ourselves capable of doing anything for ourselves. It might be true that the Iranians, the Venezuelans and the Zimbabweans are not up there with the top guys in GDP and GNP figures, but the citizens have been empowered by their governments to believe in themselves, to do things for themselves and to look for their own solutions to their own problems. Above all, they have been empowered to consider their God-given natural resources as national assets that they must own and must control. Take a look at this: “We are actually making a contribution to the venture as a senior partner who deserves a shareholding in the company. For example, if a foreign investor can say: ‘I am coming to invest in Zimbabwe, I am bringing my own diamonds and my gold, and also my equipment’, then he can own 100% of the venture. But if he doesn’t come with his own land and gold and diamonds, and is going to work with the gold and diamonds in the soil of Zimbabwe, then he cannot say we are taking away from him if we say to him: ‘The gold and the land you are going to work are ours, the diamonds in the land are ours, the platinum is ours, they were given to us by God, these are our natural resources, so let’s form a partnership in which we get 51% shareholding because we are bringing to the table more than your Caterpillar and shovel combined. There is nothing unfair about it. We are simply saying that we might not have the equipment you have, but the national resources you want is ours, let’s share it! As an investor, you make your money, and we also make our money as a nation. But don’t dispossess us of what God gave us because you are investing in our country. Investors the world over are choosy, yes; but you know what, we have the resources and these resources will go nowhere. They are ours. And even if the investors don’t come today, they will, for a fact, come tomorrow.” – Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwean Minister for Youth Development. Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, New African Magazine, Special report, July 2013, p. 49.


About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are now available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

  1. Freedom Bookshop, near Apollo Theatre, Accra.
  2. The Daily Dispatch Office, Labone – Accra
  3. WEB Dubois Pan-African Centre, Accra
  4. Ghana Writers Association office, PAWA House, Roman Ridge, Accra.
  5. African Kitchen in Amsterdam Bijlmer

Where to buy them online:

On Lulu Books:

18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories

Ghana: Basic Facts + More:

Africa: Destroyed by the gods:

Africa: It shall be well:


Africa: it shall be well

on Kindle books:

on Amazon books:

on Lulu Books:


Africa: Destroyed by the gods

on Kindle books:

on Amazon books:

on Lulu Books:


My Lulu Books page:


Get free promotional materials here:

  1. Africa: it shall be well:

A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: It shall be well’ could be downloaded here:

  1. Africa: Destroyed by the gods (How religiosity destroyed Africa)

A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: Destroyed by the gods’ could be downloaded here:

Read a review here

Contact Femi:

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Kindly help me share the books’ links with your friends and, grin, please purchase your copies.


Femi Akomolafe





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