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An ‘Amicus’ speaks in defence of Vice-President Bawumia

BY: Ajoa Yeboah-Afari

“JOY NEWS PAA NIE! I USED TO BELIEVE THEM. They have even forgotten where Ghana has come from.”

The above quote is part of an online post reacting to a JoyNews editorial of Friday, March 18, 2022, which castigated Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia for the current distressed state of Ghana’s economy. Notably, in their view, Dr Bawumia has not honoured his promises to the country.

The post, signed simply ‘Amicus’, by somebody who also identifies himself as a pharmacist, immediately grabbed my attention. The writer’s arguments in support of the Government led by President Nana Akufo-Addo and his Vice-President reflected so very much my own thoughts.

An amicus (amicus curiae), Latin, is defined as “an impartial adviser to a court of law in a particular case. Anyway, whether this particular Amicus is a trade name or a nickname, I have no idea, but it sounds agreeable.

It’s no news that Ghana is currently going through economic distress, sadly a ‘hand-to-chin’ existence for many people.

Nevertheless, foreign media tell us that Ghana is not alone in this plight. As an example, at the time of writing this article, Thursday, March 24, the headlines of two leading British newspapers said it all: “Biggest fall in living standards since 1950s” (The Times); and “The biggest fall in living standards on record” (The Daily Telegraph).
However, it seems that whereas globally, people attribute the present economic turmoil to the Covid-19 pandemic, now being fuelled by the

Russia-Ukraine war, there appears to be a different interpretation in Ghana.
Strangely, in Ghana, even some supposedly well-educated people prefer to ignore the well-articulated and publicised major causes of the worldwide economic difficulties, and put all the blame on President Akufo-Addo and Vice-President Bawumia.

Yet, it’s no secret that before Covid-19, the Akufo-Addo administration was receiving plaudits for the management of the economy. Even the handling of the pandemic won praises internationally. President Akufo-Addo’s haunting statement in 2020 is still quoted by the international community: “We know how to bring the economy back to life. What we do not know is how to bring people back to life.”

Last Friday, March 18, a JoyNews editorial by Editor Araba Koomson, had the trenchant headline, ‘The promises of Dr Bawumia versus the current state of the economy’.

The editorial begins with the loaded question: “Where is Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Chairman of the country’s Economic Management Team?”
She asks: “So, given our current situation, would you say that this is the competence that we signed up for?”
Other points:
“We appear to be in dire economic straits and we need the competent Dr Bawumia to take the reins of the economy as he promised us ….

“We also want you to fulfil all the promises you made too. You said mobile money should not be taxed. Why are you so silent in these times when your government is pushing so hard the passage of the E-Levy?
“We, the people of this Republic, need to know.

“Because your silence is extremely deafening!” That is how Ms Koomson concluded the editorial.
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The following is the slightly abridged ‘Amicus’ post:
JOY NEWS PAA NIE! (Meaning: Is this really JoyNews?)
I USED TO BELIEVE THEM PAA BUT I HAVE REALIZED NOW THEY DO NOT TELL THE FULL STORY.
IT HAS BECOME QUASI POLITICAL.

They have even forgotten where Ghana has come from in the midst of happenings around the world. They have really lowered the high standards they had.

HE MADE THE 2016 COMMENTS WHEN THERE WAS NONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. NO COVID-19.
2. NO RUSSIA VERSUS UKRAINE WAR.

THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE DIFFERENT NOW!
AT LEAST AS A PHARMACIST, I AM PROUD OF THIS GOVERNMENT FOR EMPLOYING MORE PHARMACISTS.
Apart from the above, consider the following:
1. Reduced average lending rate from 32% to 21%.
2. Planting for food and jobs increasing food production.
3. Pension scheme for cocoa farmers.
4. One district one factory.
5. New Automotive sector development policy (VW, SINOTRUK, NISSAN GP)
6. Established the Ghana Aluminium Development Corporation and the Ghana Integrated iron and steel development corporation.
7. NABCO even though having challenges but better than nothing.
8. Import duties reduced between 30 and 50% depending on the goods.
9. Restarted AngloGold Operations.
10. NHIS renewable via online and via Momo payment.
11. Digital address system.
12. Mobile money interoperability.
13. Buying at our convenience PRE-PAID ELECTRICITY UNITS.
14. ONLINE PASSPORT APPPLICATION.
15. Digitization of motor insurance database.
16. Digitized DVLA operations.
17. Digitization of Births and Deaths Registry.
18. Abolished the 1% special import levy to relieve you and I.
19. Abolished the 17% VAT/NHIL on domestic airlines.
20. Abolished the 5% VAT/NHIS on Real Estate sales.
21. Abolished the import duty on spare parts.
22. Reduced National Electricity Scheme levy to as low as 3%^.
23. Paying exam fee of BECE and WASSE candidates.
24. Teacher Training allowance restored.
25. Nursing training allowance restored.
26. Scholarships increased by 70%.
27. One constituency one ambulance.
28. Drone delivery system.
29. Abolished UTILITY BILLS for tertiary students.
30. Abolished the 3-months arrears policy for teachers who had worked 2-3 years.
31. Abolished the fee for post graduate medical training.
32. Abolished the market toll for kayayei.
33. Established the Zongo Development Fund.
34. Increased the allowance for peacekeeping soldiers from $30 to $35.
35. Largest investment infrastructure (roads, railway, schools, etc.)
36. SCHOOL FEEDING IS STILL ON.
37. FREE SHS IS ON.
38. NO DUMSO.
39. COMMUNITY PHARMACIES ARE OPERATING ON ECG and NOT Generators.
40. Even though fuel prices have gone up and we are all facing the impact of this, there are no fuel shortages, no gas shortages; the system is working.

There is hardship, that is true but let’s be frank with ourselves and not so soon forget where we have come from.
What is happening around the globe is something which we have no control over.
– Amicus

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Amicus has demonstrated strikingly that not all Ghanaians suffer from short memory.
Evidently, there is no instant remedy for the double affliction that has turned the world, and Ghana’s, economy upside down. If there were, countries worldwide wouldn’t be struggling frantically, as reports indicate.

I believe that a Government that has to its credit the above listed 40 creative, courageous, sensitive and pragmatic initiatives – and still counting – will certainly find solutions to the current economic difficulties.
They will definitely keep their promise: “We know how to bring the economy back to life.”
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