The style of leadership, whether in politics or in our traditional set up, is by choice but the outcomes that translate into deliverables for the consumption of the ordinary taxpayers would most likely reflect the inputs of the leader and not his style of leadership. The final judgment is always with the followers and not a story to be told by the leader.
The less than a decade of Nkrumah’s Presidency set a tone, gave a direction and a destination for Ghana. The success stories of Nkrumah’s short stay were never told by him in lecture series. If lecture series told Nkrumah’s stories to the world, then, they were done by people who never met him alive or never were Ghanaians to start with.
From 1945 when Japan disappeared from the scene after conquering Singapore as brutalizing its citizens, it went into rebuilding in silence. Japan appeared in about two decades with tight lips but their mastery of industrial production of textiles, petrochemicals, electronic goods among others, announced their position in the world stage and not noise.
When Singapore was chased out of the Federation of Malaysia in 1965 without a signpost of destination, Lee Kuan Yew chose not to organize talk shops but went into serious business of building a country without a head and limbs. In his own words, Lee described Singapore as at 1965 as a heart without a body and an island without a hinterland. Today, Singapore is a first world economy which was built in silence. When he died, lectures were organized to celebrate the hero in Lee Kuan Yew for such a bold step in going it alone and building Singapore from nothing.
Talkers are hardly the best of managers of serious countries. Where there is serious business in governance, even citizens hardly get time to talk, because they would spend almost all the time to work for their working country. So, when you see leaders like Dr Bawumia talking more than the suffering masses, it implies there is less work but more talking just to balance the equation.
The people of Ghana were scammed into believing that the lectures Dr Bawunia organized when he was desperate for power in 2016, could easily be translated into economic liberation. At a point, I was getting disappointed in the so-called intellectuals and most critical voices in academia who never questioned most of the pronouncements of Dr Bawunia especially those that related to economic modules, economic principles and policies. He was allowed to get away with many untruths, unrelated and uncoordinated suggestions.
So, if this 2nd November lecture won’t be a platform for the Ghanaian to ask real questions but one of the same lectures the Vice President organized while in opposition then, some of us would do the work of the media who are paid to report as they are told.
In opposition, the economic babies that were regularly and consistently whipped by Dr Bawunia were borrowing and taxation. So, as a taxpayer, if this 2nd November lecture won’t spare a paragraph to address these twin-evils (borrowing and taxation), I have no reason to take my Vice President serious.
Dr Bawunia in 2015 was very categorical about borrowing. He said we didn’t need to borrow to build this country. I disagreed with him as an economics student then. I was wondering from which hymn book he was drawing his chorus from, because it is practically impossible for a developing country like Ghana to propose to reduce taxes, borrow less at the same time engage in any meaningful economic transformation.
The world most biggest economy today is the United States. Most of the serious investments of the United States were and are still being funded by debt (borrowing). Today, the US debt to GDP is about 99.3% with about 37% of this debt owed to foreign countries. As at the end of 2020, the US owed Japan-Asia’s first miracle, a whopping $1.266 trillion while China owned about $ 1.07 trillion of US treasury holdings by end of 2020. The cumulative debt of the US as at the end of 2020 stood at about $26.70 trillion. In effect, the US borrows too and it’s in debt as well. The only difference is that, it’s debt is mostly self-financed by the relative investment and the economy can generate more economic activities to offset and sustain its debt.
When President Mahama and the NDC borrowed, a decision which was bastardized by Dr Bawunia on his lecture platforms, he borrowed to invest in the critical sectors of the economy. Today, Atuabo gas plant (The Ghana Gas Company) alone is saving Ghana government about $500m annually. That project was financed by debt (borrowed cash from China). This is one of many such projects undertaken by Mahama and the NDC. So, debt or borrowing in itself isn’t a bad economic decision as Dr Bawunia made it to sound when Mahama ruled, but what the money is used for is what will make one to appreciate the decision to borrow a sensible or senseless one.
Under our talking Vice President as the chairman of the Economic Management Team, Ghana has borrowed to a choking point. Ghana’s public debt which was around GHC 120 billion under Mahama is now about GHC 350 billion under the watch of Dr Bawunia. Today, Dr Bawunia and his NPP borrow to consume; they borrow to pay the ever-increasing debts, they borrow to hire private jets for the President’s relaxation and comfort up skies and they borrow of cause to the fill the private banks of themselves.
It is a fact that, Dr Bawunia and his NPP in just about 5 years, have borrowed more than all the governments right from Nkrumah to Mahama. And with all the borrowed cash, Ghanaians can hardly tie same to any serious capital investments. Economies which are managed by serious minds, capital investments are a derivative of borrowing and decent jobs are the outcomes of the expansion of the economy as a result.
Shouldn’t Dr Bawunia be apologizing to Ghanaians by now instead of spending our taxes in paying the media to amplify his cooked propaganda? He promised to move Ghana from TAXATION TO PRODUCTION. What is Ghana producing after 5 years of him serving as the manager of our economy? Ironically, under Dr Bawunia, obnoxious taxes like covid tax, “borla tax” and many others have been introduced and the threshold of existing taxes increased in insulting folds. The end product is that the purchasing power of the Ghanaian has reduced significantly…conversely, those in government have grown the taste for extravagance in multiple folds.
The Energy Sector Levy was introduced by President Mahama in 2015 as a temporary tax to among others offset the energy sector debts owed by the government through the energy sector SOEs. This tax was yet again described by Dr Bawunia as a nuisance tax. A sunset clause which was inserted to make the tax a temporary one (for 5 years), has been amended by Dr Bawunia and his NPP and annoyingly used same ESLA as a special purpose vehicle to borrow more money payable in 15 years. Who is thinking straight here, John Mahama or Dr Bawunia?
Today, Ghanaians are having to pay more for petroleum products. From GHC 15 for a gallon under Mahama in 2016 to about GHC 30 under Bawunia and his NPP in just 5 years. One of the components that influences the build-up of the price of petroleum products is exchange rate. Once Ghana is a net importer of the finished petroleum products, the exchange rate Mathematics will surely affect the pricing. The cedi which was selling at around GHC 3.9 for $1 in 2016 is now selling at GHC 6.2 for $1 in 2021. We were told that when the economy is not doing well, don’t listen to any lectures, just watch the screens of the forex market where the cedi and the dollar play the exchange rate game. By this analogy, is the economy doing well with the 6:1 cedi-dollar matrix in the forex market?
Mr Vice President, I am a citizen and not a spectator. So, I wish to remind you that I need answers to the same questions you asked in the past and deliverables from the juicy promises you made to us, and not same embellished propaganda clothed in lectures. I need my pockets to tell me I am better under your leadership and not you to keep telling me the stories I don’t feel.
If Dr Bawunia wants a bigger platform to really engage Ghanaians, then, he should be interested in speaking to the following topics:
- How much Ghanaian Cedi does the businessman need to buy 1 US Dollar to import excavators under a Bawunia’s working economy?
- What is the current debt to GDP and how much does each Ghanaian owes under Dr Bawunia’s working economy?
- How much is the gallon of petrol in a working economy under Dr Bawunia’s leadership? Does this have any trickling down effect on the ordinary sachet water seller?
- Appreciating the realities of the statement, “Ghana will be moved from Taxation to Production under a Bawunia leadership”.
- How the public sector worker salary takes him home with a paltry 4% increment in his base pay under a Bawunia leadership.
When my talking Vice President is done speaking to the above topics, he would have appreciated that talking and delivering lectures don’t solve economic problems, but deliberate policy and the political will to solve them did the magic for the Asian Tigers and the first world economies today. The Vice President should be humble enough to apologize to President Mahama and the Ghanaian taxpayers at large. Enough of the lectures!
By Issifu Seidu Kudus Gbeadese
(Youth Imam from Laribanga)