Feature Article of Thursday, 10 May 2012
Columnist: Poku, Kwaku G.
Dr. Bawumia speech at Ferdinand Ayim Memorial lecture on May 2, 2012 has been well received in the country and hopefully around the globe. His speech or lecture was a serious indictment on the president Mills management of the economy, especially the much touted single digit inflation figure for the past three years.
Dr. Bawumia, a well respected international Economist, has cast doubts on low inflation figure this administration has wanted the world to know. According to him, and many people agree, the single digit inflation cannot be verified scientifically and also does not reflect economic conditions on the street. He did provide facts and figures to support his charge. That is what Economists do; address their issues with objectivity, with facts and figures. One can disagree with the conclusions but the disagreement must also base on facts and figures. That is why economics is a science. You make up figures at your own peril.
With this serious indictment, it was expected that the administration would come out to defend her policy and critique Dr. Batumi’s serious charges. Looking at the stature of this man, some of us had wanted the administration to also unleash her top Economists in the finance ministry to counter the issues raised by this renowned Economist.
Unfortunately, the best Economist the administration could come out with to defend their economic policy was nobody other than Fiifi Kwetey, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic planning. As expected, the only thing Mr. Kwetey has been doing since last week are barrage of insults on Dr.Bawumia personality and misquoting him.
Fiifi Kwetey has not been able to tell Ghanaians why with single digit inflation yet prices of goods and services and cost living keep going up? These increases are not one or two months phenomena but extended period of time, so all things being equal, the inflation figure should reflect this increasing trend. If Fiifi Kwetey does not know, inflation does not go down when there is a sustained increase in the general level of prices of goods and services. So until Fiifi Kwetey can show us how low inflation numbers can be achieved in the period of increasing prices on goods and services he should just keep mute.
It seems this administration is trying to re-define inflation where there is no relationship between inflation rate, interest rate, exchange rate and other economic fundamentals which is very unfortunate. This is because businesses and other organizations use these economic data to make business decisions, so producing “cooked” economic data is very harmful to the country.
Fiifi Kwetey must stop insulting Dr. Bawumia and tell Ghana statistical Service to publish the raw data that go into the computation of the inflation figure. This will settle the debate. This voodoo economics has been going on for almost four years now. Calling Dr. Bawumia a handicapped does not end the question now on people’s mind that is why everything is going up but inflation keeps falling? Accusing him for being” part of calamitous management of the economy by the NPP as deputy governor at the Bank of Ghana that left the economy on rocks and an intensive care unit” does not answer why inflation has been going down but interest rate is still high?
On the depreciation of the cedi, Fiifi Kwetey again uses hyperboles and insults in the administration defense. According to him it is because of “reckless re-denomination of the cedi” by former administration in 2007 that is why the cedi is falling. As to what he means by “reckless re-denomination”, I do not know. His penchant use of phrase like this is his only mantra. As always, Fiifi Kwetey uses propaganda to answer serious economic question. How did the re-denomination of cedi cause its depreciation? Unfortunately he gets a platform to make these wild allegations without being challenged. He should know that one reasons for the free fall of the cedi is due to high inflation.
It is only in Ghana, under President Mills administration, where a person of Fiifi Kwetey’s stature can become a Deputy Minister of Finance. His reactions to Dr. Bawumia’s speech so far show that he is undeserving of the position. He talks more as a propaganda secretary than a Finance minister. I wished he would ask Dr. Duffuor why his silence? Because there is truth in what Dr. Bawumia said in his speech. He should also learn something from his colleague deputy minister, Mr. Seth Terkper, who disagrees with Dr. Bawumia but in an intelligent and respectful manner.
I also hope these young ministers will go to GIMPA to study “ An Act of Public Speaking as Public Official” because sometimes their public speeches are nothing but. The fact that the person is your political opponent does not mean you should heap insults on him or her at any opportunity you get.
God bless mother Ghana
Alexandria, Virginia USA