In Ghana and across the globe, the most common agenda for discussion at the moment is Neymar’s salary. Paris Saint-Germain has signed Brazilian striker Neymar da Silva Santos Junior for 222 million euros ($263m). On 3 August 2017 Neymar’s former club, Barcelona announced that his legal representatives made the payment equal to the release clause of his contract.
This record deal has stunned not just football lovers, but the entire world. Although the Brazilian has said his record move from Barcelona to Paris St-German was not motivated by money, but the quest for a bigger challenge; scores of media outlets have attempted to prove him wrong.
This is the highest salary ever earned by a footballer nationally and internationally. Before I proceed, let me share this little question that has been running through my mind ever since news of Neymar’s transfer broke; how do these footballers succeed in keeping their sanity with such huge amounts of money?
Neymar is expected to earn £30, 992,000 annually. Converting this to Ghana Cedis Neymar will be earning GHC 178,762,506.83 and when converted to dollars he will be earning $40,779,273.60 every year. Neymar’s move from Barcelona to the French club will see the 25-year-old pocket 600,000 euros after tax per week, making him the highest paid footballer in the world.
Gyan Was Never This Close
The captain of Ghana’s national team Asamoah Gyan made history in 2015 as one of the highest paid players in the world. At the time he was at Chinese side Shanghai SIPG, Gyan was earning a whopping sum of $350,000 weekly. But this is nowhere close to what the former Barca player is set to earn at his new club PSG.
Many have pondered what they could buy for the Neymar’s price-tag, with ideas ranging from world’s best islands to expensive private jets. Here, we will talk about how much this whopping amount can do for mother Ghana.
Ghana has been faced with different challenges over the years ranging from economy to infrastructure. With the inception of a new government, Ghana hopes to experience a significant change, as well the promises made by the now ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) prior to its election victory in December 2016.
Though the NPP is making progressive efforts towards the fulfilment of these promises, let us take a good look at what the richest footballer’s salary can do for the country.
1. Formally Educate More Than 1 Million Ghanaian Children
In Ghana, 80% of school-aged children are enrolled in primary school. According to reports, this leaves up to one million children between the ages of six and 14 out of school.
Take Savelugu in Northern region for instance. More than 97% of the area’s residents are small-scale farmers. Savelugu is considered a poor district because it performs badly on a number of key development indicators. Many of the villages’ children work on farms and do household chores and do not attend formal public school.
What is attainable in areas like this are other forms of education which involve learning about religion. For Salvelugu, children in some communities like Botingli and Bunglung are taught numeracy and literacy in their mother tongue, Dagbanli.
The government needs a lot of money to ensure that these children receive formal education, and while we’re fantasizing about Neymar’s salary this is surely one of the ways it can be used to help Ghana.
2. Neymar’s Salary Can Cover Free SHS
Reports from policy think tank IMANI estimated the cost for government’s Free SHS policy to be at GHC 600 million yearly. Now let us imagine that Neymar’s Salary is made available to the Ghanaian government, it will go a long way in reducing the burden on the government to search for the money for the policy which is expected to start September 2017.
3. Affordable Housing Units
Citizens of Ghana will have no longer worry about exorbitant housing units should Neymar gave his one year salary to the government. A three room affordable housing unit costs, averagely, GHC60,000. Neymar’s annual salary can provide 2,979 houses for Ghanaians.
4. 1 District 1 factory Policy
The main promise of the NPP prior to the 2016 elections was to establish one factory for each of the districts across the country. As a matter of fact, the government budgeted GH¢456.3 million to be used to implement the one-district one-factory policy. This means that each district will cost GHC 2,152,358. Bringing Neymar’s salary into the picture, the whopping sum can provide 83 districts with the needed factories.
5. Build Komfo Anokye Maternity
A very important issue which has not been discussed is that of the discouraging standard of many Ghanaian hospitals. These hospitals in the likes of Konfo Anokye maternity only need proper funding to be revamped and resuscitated to an ideal level. At least four babies die every day at the hospital, mainly because of severe congestion at the maternity ward.
The Ghanaian Government needs up to 70 million dollars to complete the maternity block which began in 1974. An amount like Neymar’s two years salary will complete the maternity and reduce the infant and maternal mortality rates.