A United States of America-based Economist, Dr. Sa-ad Iddrisu, has described the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as a â€˜wizkidâ€™ of contradictions, and also termed his recent comments on the Ghana card as unfortunate.
Dr. Iddrisu made these statements on Wednesday, July 20, during a zoom lecture with some sections of Ghanaian students in the United States on Ghanaâ€™s economy.
According to Dr. iddrisu, â€œprior to the 2016 election, Dr Bawumia made his famous quote that when the fundamentals of the economy are weak, the exchange rate will expose you. Fast forward to 2017-2022 when in government, he comes back now to tell us that falling exchange rate doesnâ€™t mean the economic fundamentals are weak. This is surely a man of contradictions and zero principles.â€
â€œThis is just one example and if we go back to take all the pre-election 2016 statements made by Dr. Bawumia on the economy and compare them to the statements he is making now in government, you will find dozens of contradictions, with zero principlesâ€, Dr. Iddrisu said.
Dr. Iddrisu also said that the recent Ghana card statement made by Dr. Bawumia was very unfortunate. â€œTo say the Ghana card is better than 1000 interchanges is an unfortunate statement that should not be coming from a sitting Vice President.â€
According to Dr. Iddrisu, â€œitâ€™s possible that the Ghana card registration may help increase the number of tax payers in the informal sector of the economy since the card is linked to Tax Identification Number (TIN). However, an economy that lacks basic access to improved roads and interchanges to make it easier for farmers and traders to transport their goods and services to the market for sale, should not be thinking it can raise enough taxes just by registering people for Ghana card. You cannot tax people on empty pockets and hungry stomachs. You have to provide them with improved roads, which will then lead to easy movements of their goods and services, translating to higher productivity/revenues and possibly higher tax collection rates. Therefore, 1000 interchanges are far better than Ghana card a million times and not the other way round. However, that is not to say the Ghana card is not an important digitization drive, it is. The comparison made by Dr. Bawumia is what is out of context and very unfortunate, and should not have even been made in the first place.â€
Dr. Iddrisu also advised Dr. Bawumia and the NPP government not to downplay the infrastructural development made by successive governments.
â€œThe NPP and Dr. Bawumia should not downplay the infrastructural development made by previous governments since independence and under John Mahama. Nana Addo and Dr. Bawumiaâ€™s government should rather add more to our existing infrastructure by spending more of the countryâ€™s budget on capital expenditure rather than consumption spending as is the case nowâ€, Dr. Iddrisu said.
On the issue of Ghana going to the IMF, Dr. Iddrisu believe it may not solve Ghanaâ€™s economic woes if corruption and mismanagement are not eliminated under this government.
â€œThe Bank of Ghana monetary policy reports from 2017 to date, points to the fact that Nana Addoâ€™s government has borrowed more money than all previous governments combined since independence. Yet, very little infrastructural development to show for such huge borrowingsâ€, Dr. Iddrisu said.
â€œThe IMF is granting the government of Ghana about $1 billion credit facility which is yet to be approved by parliament. Unfortunately, even if the IMF grants Ghana a $5 billion or $10 billion credit facility under this government, a large portion of the funds will be blown away in corruption and mismanagement. Nana Addo must fight corruption and mismanagement under his government with all the seriousness it deserves, if it intends to achieve the needed infrastructural development and fiscal disciplineâ€, Dr. Iddrisu added.