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21.04.2020 Feature Article

Lifting Ban: Ghana Government Selling Its Head To Buy A Cap

Lifting Ban: Ghana Government Selling Its Head To Buy A Cap
LISTEN APR 21, 2020

Fellow Ghanaians, the assertion that "a Lannister keeps his word" might not be entirely accurate because not every Lannister really keeps their word.

Sometimes, I am tempted to accuse our dear President of being under the influence of a magic spell. Who could have been responsible for such an esoteric manipulation is what I don't know But I do know karma has a surreal way of paying "handsome" rewards to its victims.

Certainly, the voter's register compilation; Moody's rating agencies rating Ghana's economy being downgraded to negative; Free Senior High candidates inability to write WASSCE; desire for cheap and fake international recognition among other vanities of political hedonistic tendencies, are what have collectively prompted government's latest unwise and sadistic decision to cancel the partial lockdown.

In an article I authored last year entitled, "Investigate the NPP’s Economic Growth", I distinguished between two famous economic policies familiar with developing countries or emerging markets that don't have factors of production or those factors being in their infancy. These are the Contractionary Fiscal Policy and Expansionary Fiscal Policy.

According to Kimberly Amadeo, these policies are resorted to so as to stimulate economic growth by developing countries, especially, the Expansionary fiscal policy.

I exposed the NPP's adoption of the Expansionary fiscal policy which is mainly about pumping money into the economy using budgetary tools to either increase spending or cut taxes. And it is a direct opposite of the Contractionary fiscal policy that the IMF prescribed for Mahama which led to his lost in the general elections in 2016.

In that article, I cautioned against the government's reckless use of the Expansionary fiscal policy for three consecutive years which is supposed to be used at most, one year unless in rescuing recession. I pointed to the American great economic depression in the 1930s under President Franklin D. Roosevelt who used that policy for only one year according to Kimberly Amadeo.

This is because, if Expansionary fiscal policy is overused like the NPP is thoughtlessly using it and, unfortunately, a natural disaster strikes, the economy would become more miserable than you met it. So, I cautioned them to be very careful using the policy to spur economic growth and brag about it.

With expansionary policy, anybody can grow the economy. It is not about any competence. What an individual needs is to spend more money into the economy and watch it grow.

However, if along the way a natural disaster occurs, your example could only be likened to the man who uses all his huge sum of money to buy expensive clothes and furniture in order to brag. Then, in just one morning a fire outbreak consumes all of that. No more cash, and no more clothes and furniture.

Now, imagine if that money was a borrowed one. What a Wahala? That's what has begun to happen in Ghana. Unless aid from donor countries save us, this is the beginning of our misery because of reckless usage of economic policy to score cheap political points.

Meanwhile, "Ghana is beyond aid".

Perhaps because I was just a mere graduate, a child, and without PhD in economics from Harvard or Oxford, nobody listened to this economic prophecy I foretold and forewarned.

Now, one doesn't need to read between the lines in order to appreciate this shortsightedness and inappropriate confidence displayed by the government to lift the ban. It is sheer panic of driving the country into the abyss of economic mess and hardship as it has already been observed and rated by Moody's and B3.

But, what could have encouraged this suicidal decision to lift the ban in order to rescue a sinking economy, might be a research conducted by an Israeli Mathematics Professor I stumbled upon online few days ago.

I read with rather dissatisfaction, hopelessness, and confusion, a report or research on the infamous corona virus, conducted by an Israeli Professor of Mathematics at the Tel Aviv University who doubles as the head and chairman of Security Studies program at that university in Israel, Professor Isaac Ben-Israeli.

According to the mathematics professor, he and others have conducted a research on the novel virus spread, around the world, and they have come to what I and anybody, would describe as a premature conclusion.

The research opines that lockdowns by countries across the globe have really not made any impact to the spread of the disease. Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel has postulated that the pattern of spread of the virus, remains the same in affected countries despite the lockdowns.

It therefore makes no difference, whether lockdown or open, the disease hits its victims hard. Thus, despite the huge Cos90 to those countries who lockdown their economies because of the virus, they still get infected badly. Suggesting that, it's better to have one's markets opened and gets infected with economic gain than to lose economically and get infected in addition. He even wondered why would Israel lose 20% of its GDP to a lockdown when only 140 people die everyday. Lord have mercy.

This is, in summary, the findings of his research.

Our elders say if your friend promises to give you a hat, you first check on his head.

Although this mathematician and researcher is coming from Israel itself with his findings, the Israeli government though is planning on how to lift their lock-down on nonessential markets, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal for 50% lift up of the lockdown, was reduced to 30% on the advice of the Israeli Health Minister.

What we must appreciate as Ghanaians is that, if our partial lockdown was like Kindergartners on break at school, what will be the situation like if we decide to lift the ban but observing certain social distancing protocols?

Were we able to observe those protocols outlined during the partial lockdown? It's a resounding no.

It's a fact that, our partial lockdown was like some affected countries' normal days. There was no political will to really enforce it by government. The military was threatened and cowed with all forms of litigations, and accused of Human Rights trespasses which rendered them more ineffective than the government itself.

Without mincing words, our so-called partial lockdown was simply a joke. And we are, perhaps, yet to realize the effects of that rascality.

Moving on, when the researchers graphically showed the results of various countries' infections patterns of the disease, some observers say their claims are not far from truth.

That, there's really no impact of the lockdown. The disease gets to a peak in countries affected in spite of the lockdown, professor Isaac Ben-Israel alleged.

However, the question the government should have asked itself before taking a decision based on this research if indeed that is what has caught their attention is, what is the guarantee that this research by Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel was not a clear case of "armchair professor job"? Or a guesswork?

We all know that, for anybody to claim any research conducted on this disease at this material moment of global lockdown, he or she could not have moved beyond his or her living room where they have been lock downed. And to sit in the comfort of one's living room or library, and determine the genuine pattern of what majority would have concealed and disguised for fear of stigmatization, victimization, and ostracization, in their countries without any medical record about them, leaves much to be desired about this research by Professor Isaac Ben-Israel.

Indeed, there are many countries who have lifted their bans partially for economics activities to kick-start, but we cannot mimic them because of our lack of strong and decisive leadership. These countries have showcased genuine patriotism and have worked hard to graduate from the talking point to taking serious actions, which enabled them to suppress and contain the disease.

As at Monday April 20, countries that have partially lifted their ban include: Spain, Austria, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, China, USA, Poland, even Italy etc. after declaring serious war on the disease.

Equally worthy of note, there are countries that have tightened the noose of lockdown with extended weeks, and even months and who have by far, better managed the virus than Ghana does. These include UK, Canada, Singapore, France, Portugal, Hungary, Australia, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, etc., including Israel where Professor Ben-Israel who conducted this research is coming from.

Japan has actually strengthened its measures, and moved on from lockdown to State of Emergency.

It therefore beats our imagination that, a government which could not simply enforce a partial lockdown has the temerity to basically cancelled everything.

For God's sake, half a loaf is better than none.

In our own backyard in Africa (West Africa) where experts are predicting to be the next epicenter, no country has come out to lift their ban.

Somebody must knock sense in the government.

Clearly, President Akufo Addo is, again, vaingloriously seeking for irrelevant global attention with his plenty of speeches as "Africa's best President" he never deserved.

Is it not mind-boggling that a government that earlier released one million dollars to fight 1 case of a disease, sees it fit to abandon the fight when the cases have now hit 1014?

God save Ghana.

Submitted By:

Abdul Hakeem Iddrisu,

The Young Prof.

The Young, by the permission of their Maker, shall grow.

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