8 November 2012

Ghana: Amissah-Arthur Flops At IEA Debate

What was billed as 'the clash of the Governors' at the Institute of Economic Affairs organized Vice-Presidential Debate in Takoradi, failed to ignite. Vice-President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, one-time lecturer in Economics and one-time Deputy Finance Minister, who was expected to bring his immense knowledge and experience as the immediate past Governor of the Bank of Ghana to bear, failed the litmus test when it mattered most.

In the opinion of keen observers, Mr. John Dramani Mahama's running mate allowed his main challenger, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia to have a field day on the economy.

After three and a half hours of exchanging ideas at the Akroma Plaza Hotel, the general consensus among the audience was that the National Democratic Congress candidate was floored by the NPP Presidential Candidate and taken to the cleaners by the two women candidates with no formal training on economic affairs.

"This election is about our future, our children's future. It is about building a country where everyone has the opportunity to work and improve on his or her quality of life. It is about choice, how to rescue the falling cedi," Dr. Bawumia charged.

He said the NDC should be rejected because the ruling party would only provide the same failed promises. "The NDC will promise and fail. The party will deliver the same failed policies of falling cedi and single digit inflation which has no relationship with the reality on the ground."

The New Patriotic Party running mate said for the past three years, this nation had maintained single digit inflation. "There is a total disconnect between the single digit inflation and the cost of living. If you rely on wrong inflation data, you are not going to get the economy on the right track," he said.

Dr. Bawumia said a lower inflation should trigger lower interest rate, stating emphatically that when the NPP brought inflation from 40 percent to 18, the banks responded by bringing interest rate down from nearly 50 percent to the present 26 and 27 per cent.

That brought Vice-President Amisah-Arthur on his feet. But instead of debunking the claims by his main challenger, the sitting Vice-President shot himself in the foot by suggesting that banking officials and the general public who did not appreciate the single digit inflation, were getting confused.

If your wife comes from the market and complains about high cost of goods and you tell her she is confused, you have not solved the problem, " Dr. Bawumia suggested to the sitting Vice-President.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur also messed up big time, when asked to tell his audience what the NDC administration would do about the long time it took to clear goods at the nation's ports.

In the first place, he confused ports with courts, telling his audience that he had never been to court before. Even when his attention was drawn that the question was about delays inherent in clearing goods at our ports and harbours, Mr. Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur sought to bring in bureaucracy at the Register General's Department.

Dr. Bawumai said Regional Integration could be promoted effectively if there was the political will by various leaders in the ECOWAS sub- region. He recommended the removal of barriers and improvement on infrastructure, such as roads to encourage more trade among the various countries in the sub-region.

Like Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in Tamale last week, Dr. Mumuni Bawumai told Ghanaians that "the only way to get Ghana working again was to remove the NDC from power.

"Better Ghana has made Ghana harder. We have no reason to believe the NDC will ever improve. We on our part will not rest until our children have quality education. We are talking of free SHS and technical education.

"We want Better Ghana, of course. But we want it for all, not just for a few. We want it for all Ghanaians. This election is about our future," Dr. Bawumia summarized.

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