Fri, 19 Apr 2024 Article

Dr. M. Bawumia & the Thin Veil of Digitalization - David Zekpa

By David Zekpa
Dr. M. Bawumia  the Thin Veil of Digitalization - David Zekpa
19 APR 2024 LISTEN

Today’s conversation seeks to wade in the conundrum of giving Dr M. Bawumia “a fair chance” of presidency based on his achievements and potential. Dr M Bawumia and his vanguard of “breaking the 8” patriots have had to dwell largely on his digitalization achievement as Vice President of the republic.

Meanwhile, political communicators of President J D Mahama’s 2013-2016 government also claim a share of the digitalization gains the country has made up to this point. Meaning, it is not an exclusive haven for Dr. M. Bawumia.

These contrary claims are undeniable in the face of the evidence of Fiber Optic Network installations, Accra Digital Center, couple of Data Centers, and other foundational infrastructure at the Finance Ministry, NIA, GPHA, GRA, etc. towards an e-governance environment prior to 2017. However, it is also undeniable that Dr. Bawumia deserves credit for being the visible poster boy of digitalization in the current government.

Through his relentless emphasis, government initiatives like the Ghana Card, Asaase GPS, and Digital Address system were born. Through these coordinated efforts, we have made significant digital progress at the Passport Office, Ghana Health Service, Ports, etc. All governments will definitely lay claim to that which is good, but it is also expedient in our public discourse to give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar.

Without a doubt, the NPP won the 2016 election on the back of Dr. Bawumia’s apparent superior expertise at economics. At a point of despair, that electoral victory was a surrender by the people that says, “Here, make it happen”. Based on the theory and mechanics of economics, it is fair to say the positive outlook of the economy in 2017/18 could still be a derivative of decisions and choices of the Amissah-Arthur led EMT. As convenient, through Snr. Min. Yaw Osafo Marfo and the President himself, Dr. M. Bawumia claimed all the associated accolades with beams of smiles.

Fast-forward and the economy began a downward spiral into an unstable macabre dance. With the swiftness of muscle-memory, the venerable Dr. M Bawumia abandoned all associations with the economy for a refuge in the safe haven of digitalization. By that, he left behind the first derivative duty of the Vice President, i.e. managing the economy. Constitutionally, it is safe to say Dr. M. Bawumia’s denunciation implicates him for abdicating his responsibilities to people we hitherto did not know.

On the digital turf, it is worth noting that the infrastructure and technology for e-governance as we have it now was already in place and self-manifesting. Thus, progressively, “ways of doing” will eventually demand the need to upscale with technology. For example, intra-network MoMo transactions will inevitably lead us to the demand for interoperability. It is a natural evolution. Such a step in our development should not be an anchor for the Vice President.

The Office of the Vice President is a global position that requires panoramic view of the scheme of things. All these TECH initiatives lay under the purview of the Ministry of Communications through the Accra Digital Centre (est. 2016) and the National Information Technology Agency (NITA, est. circa 2008).

Furthermore, digitalizing or digitizing for e-governance can be prosecuted through the various ministries, departments and institutions. To point out strategic direction, digitalization in the various sectors should be given to Directors and CEOs as part of their KPI metrics under the supervision and guidance of an appropriate authority such as the Ministry of Communication.

Finally, to digitalize an economy is to provide lubrication for the wheels of a working economy in pursuit of an efficient system. Therefore, digitalizing an economy is not synonymous to economic management, which is the constitutional mandate of Dr M Bawumia as Vice President and Head of the EMT. A fine justification for which he posed 170 questions to the late Dr Amissah-Arthur.

It is worth iterating that, digitalizing an economy does not by itself address key fundamental matters of interest rate, exchange rate, inflation, GDP growth, unemployment, cost of living, etc. To digitalize an economy is to pursue systemic efficiencies such as the boundless 24-hr access to services, improve turnaround time, and enhance revenue mobilization and assurance among others. These do not directly dictate the state of the economy. Clearly, Dr M. Bawumia, a beneficiary of naïve meritocracy is following the trajectory of many African and third-world leaders who fail to dream and envision beyond institutional agendas.

“We the people only preserve the freedom to talk about what is right for Ghana and let the chips fall where they may”. - Harry S. Truman (33rd POTUS)

God bless our homeland Ghana, and make our Nation Great and Strong. Bold to defend forever the cause of Freedom and of Right.

Executive Director,
The 1957 Group.