The contest between Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur and Vice President-elect Dr Mahamudu Bawumia regarding mastery in Ghana’s economic management might continue for a while.
Dr Bawumia says the 170 questions on Ghana’s economy he threw at Amissah-Arthur, which became the toast of the campaign season, remain unanswered.
Despite winning the presidential election and waiting to be sworn in as vice president, Dr Bawumia told Joy Newsthat he would still love to have answers to those questions.
“I hope he has left the answers in the handing over notes,” he said sarcastically.
Dr Bawumia and his wife became the toast of the electioneering campaign with a series of economic lectures, campaign jabs – which made some members of the government ill at ease.
The vice president-elect said Veep Amissah-Arthur had claimed that his (Bawumia’s) lectures were full of lies and that forced him to put those 170 questions out for him (Amissah-Arthur) to answer.
Some of the major posers Dr Bawumia put across which he wanted the vice president to react to were:
“1. Under the 8 years of the NPP government, from 2001-2008, taxes and loans amounted to GH¢20 billion. In contrast, taxes, oil revenue and loans alone over the 8-year period of 2009-2016 would amount to some GH¢248; billion.
2. Between December 2000 and December 2008, without oil, economic growth increased from 3.7% to 9.1%. After declining to 4.8% in 2009, real GDP growth increased to 7.7% in 2010 and 14% in 2011 following the onset of oil production. Since 2011 however, real GDP growth has declined steadily and drastically to 3.9% in 2015;
3. Between 2000 and 2008, the size of Ghana’s economy increased from some $5.1 billion to $28.5 billion – a 459% increase in eight years. Even in the face of a global economic and financial crisis in 2007/8 (with oil prices reaching a record high of $147/barrel), economic growth in 2008 rose to 9.1%. However, Ghana’s GDP, notwithstanding the discovery of oil, has only increased from $28.5 billion in 2008 to a projected $40 billion in 2016 (a 40% increase in eight years). However, between 2012 and 2016 (i.e. during John Mahama’s tenure as president), the economy, in dollar terms, shrunk by 5%;
4. Under the NDC, GDP per capita has recorded a growth of 17% (from $1,266 in 2008 to a projected $1,481 in 2016) with oil revenue. Under John Mahama’s tenure as president (2012-2016), GDP per capita has declined by 12%. Under NPP on the other hand, GDP per capita recorded a growth of 187% in 8 years (from $440 to $1,266) without oil revenue. While the NPP increased per capita incomes by $826 during its term, the NDC, with twelve times more resources, has increased per capita incomes by only $215;
5. In dollar terms, under the NDC, the minimum wage declined from $2.12 to $2.02 by 2016 (i.e. by 4.6%). Between 2012 and 2016 (during the tenure of President Mahama) the minimum wage in dollar terms declined by 23.6%! In comparison, the NPP increased the minimum wage from the equivalent of $0.62 in 2000 to $2.12 in 2008 (i.e. by 244%)…”
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia said his campaign was a fierce critique of the Mahama administration and his economic management skills and not an insult on his (Mahama’s) person.
On the contrary, Bawumia indicated that he, his wife and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flag bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, were at the frontline of blatant insults by their political opponents.
He said when the insults came, he then realized that his message had sunk in.
“Anytime I start hearing insults, then I know I have won the argument,” he said, adding that given the quantum of resources at the disposal of the outgoing National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration and the level of development in the country, no better word could describe the Mahama administration than ‘incompetent’.
He said the response by the president to his incompetent jab exposed him to more criticisms and taunts of incompetence.
President John Mahama parried the claim of incompetence, insisting neither Bawumia nor his boss – Akufo-Addo – had been president and so they had no moral right to describe him (Mahama) as incompetent.
Mr Mahama stated that only ex-presidents Rawlings and Kufuor had that right to call him an incompetent president; a response that left many observers criticizing the president the more.