Blame Your 6th Form Economics Teacher – Bawumia To Mahama

Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia

Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia has given a measured response to former President John Dramani Mahama, saying he appears to lack basics in how to use digitisation to transform an economy.

He said the former President must rather blame his Sixth Form Economics Teacher for his troubles if he does not appreciate the current global economic order.

Mr. Mahama whilst rounding up his ‘Thank You’ tour last week attacked the Vice President, who is head of the Economic Management Team, saying he was using digitalisation to mask up the NPP’s poor handling of the economy.

It follows Dr. Bawumia’s Ashesi University public lecture on how the government is using digitisation/digitalisation to bring accelerated economic growth.

Economics Messiah

The former President then mocked the Vice President, an astute economist, saying he was parading as ‘economics messiah’ who has turned into an ‘overnight IT champion,’ and also said the Vice President’s recent lecture on digitisation cannot assuage what he called the economic suffering of the people.

“No amount of digital propaganda will take away the excruciating hardships Ghanaians are going through. This our country Ghana will be liberated,” ex-president Mahama had stated.

He then downplayed the Akufo-Addo administration’s efforts towards digitalising the economy, saying “the recent brouhaha about up weighting the use and application of enhanced computer systems in our workflows, practices and lifestyles is needless. Some have opted to term the drive a digitalisation drive. I am not the type to be taken in by words or huge catchy phrases as I focus on the substance of the programme in terms of its objectives, mode of delivery, outcomes, and impacts at cost-effective levels.”

“It is quite amusing though, that even as the economy faces these severe challenges requiring urgent action, those who have been responsible for the mess, have attempted to make a fluid transition from failed, self-styled economic messiahs of the very recent past to overnight IT champions,” he stated.

“We are suddenly being told that the decades-old incremental progress that has been made in the ICT sector due to sound and consistent policy-making spanning several governments leading us to a point where they are being leveraged for convenient, efficient and innovative service delivery and transactions, is the brainchild of some people whose record and involvement is at best, very tenuous.

“It bears stating that if the ICT sector has grown in leaps and bounds, then it is down to the hard work of several people who dedicated their lives and efforts towards bringing us thus far,” the former president added.

Measured Response

However, delivering a speech at the 79th anniversary celebration and graduation at the Trinity Theological Seminary in Accra on Saturday, the Vice President took a swipe at Mahama for exhibiting a seeming lack of understanding of the discourse on digitisation and digitalisation.

“The digital economy is a massive economy; that should be obvious of course to anybody who has done Sixth Form economics and they should understand.  And if you don’t understand that then you shouldn’t blame me, you should blame your Sixth Form teacher,” he said, throwing the entire auditorium into spontaneous laughter.

Dr. Bawumia therefore noted that “step-by-step, we are applying these enablers to innovate many areas of our everyday economic activities, interactions with businesses, and with our access to public services.”

More Efforts

Through digitalisation, he said “we have been able to tackle corruption at the Passport Office, online Ports, GRA – TIN is now the Ghanacard number (4% to 86%), SSNIT is now the Ghanacard number, NHIS number is now your Ghanacard number, Mobile renewal of NHIS membership, Mobile purchase of electricity credits, Passport is being linked to your Ghanacard, every public sector worker will be uniquely identified by the Ghanacard number – no more double salaries.”

He also said that they have been able to or working out “DVLA – application online with world class service, Motor Insurance Database – no fake insurance certificates, Births and Deaths Registry – no more fake birth certificates, Scholarship Secretariat, Ghana.Gov Platform – no leakages of government revenue, Mobile Tax Application for filing taxes, National Common Platform for Property Taxation – digital addresses and Digitalisation of medical records and networking of hospitals, Mobile Renewal of NHIS registration and Drone delivery of medical supplies to remote areas.”

Dr. Bawumia insisted that digitisation/digitalisation and the economy are mutually linked and not exclusive as former President Mahama and the NDC would want Ghanaians to believe, for which they are engaging in needless politicking with it.

“We are building a new system to underpin the economy. A system that makes for greater transparency, promotes accountability and efficiency in every aspect of public interactions. It is a system that minimises incentives to pay bribes and opportunities for corruption in the delivery of public services. It is a system where the operations of government institutions are digitised for efficient service delivery, a system that is formalising the informal sector,” he added.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu