That Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is a thorn in the flesh of the wailing opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is a suggestion which continues to gain currency among many Ghanaians.
Abdul-Malik Kwaku Baako, Editor-in-Chief of the 'Crusading Guide' newspaper, is the latest to make the suggestion and forcefully so during a television programme 'Good Morning Ghana' yesterday.
Town Hall Meeting
The veteran journalist's assessment comes in the wake of the recent Town Hall engagement of the Economic Management Team (EMT), with the Vice President leading the charge, as well as the NDC's supposed counter engagement.
Anytime the Vice President makes an appearance on the political stage, as he did recently at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the outcome is characteristically chaotic, with the opposition party organising ill-prepared programmes to, as it were, undo what many see as the superior arguments advanced by the Vice President.
Kwaku Baako Jnr said the Vice President's 'brilliant performance' usually puts the opposition party on edge.
In their reaction to such performance, they seek avenues to scuttle their protagonist's arguments, which according to him, are presented with so much simplicity to the understanding of non-economists.
The Editor-in-Chief lauded the communication skills of Vice President which as he put it “has simplified economics to the understanding of everyone.”
This was in direct reference to the performance of the Vice President when he presented to Ghanaians the economic journey of the country so far against the backdrop of the recent hiccups suffered by the national currency.
“It appears Dr Bawumia is a problem for his political opponents. I have been around Ghanaian politics for a very long time, and I can tell you Dr Bawumia is one of the best communicators we have ever had. He is articulate, he is coherent and he is focused,” Mr. Baako stated.
Unlike others, when presenting the rather difficult economic theories, Dr. Bawumia avoids the complex areas even as he makes his points to the understanding of persons with no knowledge of macro-economics in the context of graphs.
Kwaku Baako continued: “He makes economics very simple. He is able to reduce very complicated issues; so I see why he represents a problem and a challenge for some people. I think the Town Hall meeting was a useful exercise.”
An NDC organised engagement, which was intended to call the bluff of Dr. Bawumia, unfortunately failed to register the impact the latter did during their so-called town hall meeting.
The clout of those who turned up and the level of excitement of the meeting organised by the EMT say it all about its overwhelming success.
Dr. Bawumia used the occasion to debunk the NDC's claim that the fall of the Cedi, the national currency, is attributable to weak economic fundamentals, describing the reasoning as 'warped.'
It took a simple argument steeped in occasional humour to make his point and by the time he landed, the Vice President had entrenched his position as a man well versed in his chosen field of economics.
The NDC sought to use the position of the Vice President before its ouster from office that 'if the fundamentals are weak, the exchange rate will expose you!'
It took the calibre of a man like Dr. Bawumia to put the position in its right context using superior argument.
“Factors such as the inflation rate, the balance of trade, the fiscal balance, money supply, are what we refer to as the fundamentals. But speculation and expectations about these fundamentals; external shocks such as oil price increases can also have powerful short-term effects on the exchange rate.
“When we see pressures on the exchange rate, first we need to determine where these pressures are coming from or whether the pressures are transitory or permanent. And as every astute central banker knows, even with strong economic fundamentals, speculation, expectation and investor sentiment can exert pressures on the exchange rate.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you will recall that I stated in 2014 that 'if the fundamentals are weak, the exchange rate will expose you'. That was true then and it's true now. It is 100 per cent correct.
“But it's warped logic to jump from that to a conclusion that if there is depreciation in your currency, then the fundamentals must be weak. Do you understand the logic? If the fundamentals are weak, the exchange rate will expose you, but if the exchange rate moves, you cannot jump to that conclusion that the fundamentals are weak. That defies logic,” Dr. Bawumia said, adding “There could be external factors causing the exchange rate depreciation.”
A pro-opposition NDC academic associated with the EMT of the previous administration joined his party in a futile effort to rubbish Dr. Bawumia's excellent performance at the Town Hall meeting.
Dr. Nii Moi Thompson did not take on the points adduced by the Vice President but said 'Dr. Bawumia's graphs are basaa' to wit, haphazard or even confusing.
Dr Thompson failed to adduce strong arguments to convincingly debunk Dr. Bawumia's points.
He remains part of the NDC's efforts to berate a man they dread so much that they would do everything to criticize not only his presentations but also his person.