‘Ghanaman Time’ impeding development, leaders must set good example

‘Ghanaman Time’ impeding development, leaders must set good example

Georgina Asare Fiagbenu

 Lateness for work and other im­portant activities appears to have garnered a place in the scheme of things for majority of Ghanaians.

The canker has sunk so deep in the Ghanaian DNA that it has been christened the ‘Ghanaman Time’, a parlance partially accepted among a certain class of people.

Upshots of this are the precious hours wasted at public events due to the late arrival of guests at events, especially the political elites whose absence means everyone must be held for hours.

But a Global Communication Expert, Mr Ben Dotsei Malor believes the lateness scourge was beginning to have a negative impact on various sectors of the country and largely, impeding development and calling for a change in attitude.

Mr Malor believes that one of Ghana’s major problems as far as development was concerned was her disrespect to time and unpunctuality.

Speaking at the latest online ‘Time Keeping Dialogue’ series on Sunday hosted by Head, Corporate Commu­nications at MTN, Mrs Georgina Asare Fiagbenu, as part of efforts to address the challenge, Mr Malor called on lead­ers to set good examples by attending events on time.

The virtual conversation was under the theme, ‘Ghanaman Time’ to Greenwich Mean Time – Lessons from the Diaspora.”

Mr Dotsei Malor
Mr Dotsei Malor

Mr Malor, Chief Editor of Dailies at the United Nations (UN) News and Media Division of the UN Department of Global Communications, said the canker was impeding development and Ghanaian leaders must be concerned.

“We have normalised the abnormal, accepted the unacceptable, tolerated the intolerable, defended the inde­fensible, and condoned what should be condemned. This is impeding our development,” he stated.

He said, it was regrettable that leaders attend events late and expect their subordinates to be on time.

The change, he said, must start with leadership so that they would be able to punish people for their late­ness.

Mr Dotsei Malor proposed that, financial consequences must be at­tached to lateness to put people on their toes.

“When one loses a portion of his or her salary due to lateness, it would stop them from making excuses not to be at work early,” he stated.

Mr Malor acknowledged that the issue was not unique to Ghanaians, cit­ing Ecuador, where in 2003 the govern­ment declared a state of emergency to address chronic lateness estimated to cost the country $2.5 billion annually.

However, the former BBC Editor said the issue was more damaging in Ghana compared to other countries.

Mr. Dotsei Malor asserted that the disrespect for time, where a pro­gramme scheduled for 10am-12pm eventually begins at 11:30am, was largely why most Ghanaians were poor and the economy, in a bad state.

“Being time-conscious means in­creased productivity, and productivity means efficiency. A lack of this results in inefficiency, lack of success, and other problems,” he stated.

According to Mr. Dotsei Malor, acknowledging the impact of time wasting was a step in eradicating the ‘Ghanaman time” that has persisted for years.

Mrs. Kirstie Angsmann
Mrs. Kirstie Angsmann

On her part, Kirstie Angsmann, a member of the Migrants Council and Women’s Commission in Freiburg, Germany, added that in Germany, the system is structured that excuses like ‘my car broke down’ or ‘I was stuck in traffic’ were not tolerated.

Mrs. Kirstie Angsmann, a Ghanaian woman married to a German, noted that Ghanaians needed to take every bit of their time seriously, just as it is done in Germany.

Mrs Georgina Asare Fiagbenu in her closing remarks, said more of such conversations would be held to address the challenge and ensure productivity across all sectors of the economy.

 By Michael D. Abayateye

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