Is Bawumia serious about solving the economy’s problems?


By  Bernard L. TETTEH-DUMANYA (Dr)

The commitment of Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to addressing Ghana’s economic challenges has sparked intense scrutiny and debate. This analysis delves into the sincerity of Dr. Bawumia’s efforts in tackling the nation’s economic issues by evaluating his policies, actions, and their impact.

Dr. Bawumia, Head of the economy management team has been running away from economic issues of late when we needed him most to give direction on the way forward of our economy which is in a coma. Before he became the Vice president, we heard him loud and clear in disseminating economic discourse through lectures and talks, inundating Ghanaians with financial jargon and proper management of the economy and how the government then was incompetent.

However, assessments of the effectiveness and coherence of his and his government policies, particularly in areas such as inflation control, currency stabilization, and growth stimulation, have yielded varied conclusions. Criticism has been directed at Dr. Bawumia and his government’s execution of promises made during electoral campaigns, including pledges concerning job creation and infrastructure development, such as the ambitious “one million one district, one village, one dam” initiative.

The sincerity of Dr. Bawumia’s dedication to addressing Ghana’s economic woes is further questioned by instances where successes are claimed while criticisms are deflected. Some argue his promises of economic transformation and prosperity have failed to materialize, leading to disillusionment among Ghanaians.

Transparency and accountability in governance which should be crucial for fostering a conducive environment for economic growth and development have become elusive and Dr. Bawumia’s commitment has been scrutinized. Ultimately, the sincerity of Dr. Bawumia’s dedication to Ghana’s economic reform agenda remains a subject of continued assessment and debate.

Last week, I stumbled upon a headline that left me thoroughly perplexed: “Banking Clean-up Helped to Prevent Collapse of the Financial Sector,” attributed to Dr. Bawumia, as reported by Kabah Atawoge of Citifm on May 16, 2024. It’s baffling how Dr. Bawumia appears to take credit for successes within his government while deflecting criticism by likening himself to a mere driver’s mate.

This inconsistency raises serious doubts about his honesty and loyalty to the Ghanaian people. Perhaps it’s prudent to reflect on Prof. Nana Jane Opoku Agyemang’s assertion regarding shared responsibility in both success and setbacks. Is Dr. Bawumia solely motivated by ambition for higher office, as some suggest, rather than genuine dedication to Ghana’s progress?

Furthermore, Dr. Bawumia and his government’s management of the banking cleanup exercise has come under intense scrutiny. Critics argue that it targeted individuals and served the interests of his associates and cronies, evidence of alleged Databank’s exclusive role as financial advisor for government bonds.

The fallout from this cleanup operation has resulted in job losses and economic disruptions, particularly affecting small businesses reliant on bank credit. Lingering questions about transparency and fairness persist, especially concerning the selection process for interventions and the handling of distressed institutions.

For example, is Dr. Bawumia implying that Prudential Bank’s financial performance was then better than UT Bank’s, given the circumstances surrounding UT Bank’s license revocation? These inconsistencies and questionable actions cast significant doubt on Dr. Bawumia’s commitment as head of the economic management team and acclaimed economic wizard.

Is it possible to conclude that the Vice President’s expertise leans more toward economics and lacks entrepreneurship, thus leaving a gap in his understanding of the intricacies of managing the economy of developing countries like Ghana? As the nation grapples with escalating challenges such as currency depreciation and mounting debt, it becomes imperative for him to refrain from excessive rhetoric on the economy and instead focus on concrete actions to alleviate the suffering of Ghanaians. Could it be that his rhetoric merely serves to assert himself? To salvage some dignity, he must heed lessons from incidents like the nursing training allowances debacle.

This incident once again exposed the government’s spending habits, particularly concerning the source of funds amidst a looming energy crisis like Dumsor which was reported to the Finance Ministry. These recurring embarrassments cast doubt on his trustworthiness and comprehension of economic principles. Consequently, I have decided, out of my 300 economic questions for him, to ask the first 15 questions for him to consider:

  • How will he assess the effectiveness of its economic policies in tackling inflation, unemployment, and fiscal deficits amidst current economic challenges?
  • What specific reforms will he consider currently to address fundamental economic issues such as productivity enhancement, export diversification, and sustainable growth promotion?
  • How does he intend to manage the country’s debt burden and ensure sustainable borrowing in the face of IMF conditionalities?
  • What measures will he take to maintain exchange rate stability and counter currency depreciation, considering its significant impact on inflation and living costs?
  • How will he intend to foster private sector investment and entrepreneurship to drive economic expansion and create job opportunities?
  • What will be his initiatives to alleviate the economic hardships faced by vulnerable populations, including the implementation of social safety nets and targeted poverty reduction programmes?
  • What is his strategy to enhance revenue mobilization to bolster fiscal sustainability?
  • Given the pressing issue of youth unemployment, what will be his strategies to generate job opportunities and enhance skills development for young people?
  • What measures will he undertake to support smallholder farmers, boost productivity, and promote value addition in the crucial agricultural sector?
  • How will he tackle challenges in the energy sector, including electricity shortages, high tariffs, and sustainability concerns, to stimulate industrial growth and lower production costs?
  • What measures are in place to combat corruption and improve governance practices?
  • What will he do differently to ensure transparency, accountability, and efficiency in public resource management?
  • How will he intend to invest in education and skills training to nurture a competitive workforce, foster innovation, and promote entrepreneurship?
  • How is he going to align Ghana’s international relations with national interests and values?
  • What will be his measure to ensure religious tolerance and harmony among different religious communities in Ghana?

In conclusion, evaluating Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s dedication to addressing Ghana’s economic challenges involves scrutinizing his economic policies, fulfillment of promises, and commitment to transparency and accountability. However, the assessment is less than favorable, warranting a mere ten out of one hundred. This rating symbolizes his propensity for rhetoric and superficial charm, while his actual implementation capability falls short. Moreover, his handling of critical economic issues leaves much to be desired.

>>>is a seasoned Financial Economist & Consultant with an illustrious career spanning 29 years across academic, corporate, and agribusiness sectors. His extensive professional journey includes pivotal roles at esteemed institutions such as UBA Ghana, SIC Financial Services, Empretec Ghana, and the Swiss International Finance Group, reflecting his profound understanding of global finance.

Renowned as a pioneer in risk management, compliance, and corporate strategy, Dr. Tetteh-Dumanya has made significant contributions to the Ghanaian financial landscape. He has been instrumental in spearheading initiatives in Venture Capital, business/financial reengineering, and fundraising, thereby playing a pivotal role in the growth and development of numerous entities.

Driven by a fervent dedication to capacity development, Dr. Tetteh-Dumanya has offered consultancy services to a diverse array of local and multinational organizations notably GIZ, AGRA, SNV, DANIDA, and USAID among others. His expertise in financial and business domains is multifaceted, showcased through his adept navigation of complex challenges and his commitment to driving sustainable growth in every endeavor. For inquiries, Dr.  Tetteh-Dumanya can be reached at: [email protected]

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