Bawumia Punches Mahama

Vice Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has questioned President John Mahama’s analogy in which the latter likened the struggling Ghanaian economy to the senior national soccer team, the Black Stars.

According to Dr Bawumia, it was only an incompetent team that thrived on excuses, which had become the hallmark of the John Mahama administration.

He wondered why an oil-producing country like Ghana could go to the IMF, cup in hand, begging for a bail-out, all because of mismanagement.

Mr Mahama, in his State of the Nation Address on Thursday, compared the comatose economy to the senior national team, predicting that Ghana would rise again from its woes under his presidency, just as the Black Stars who were not given a dog’s chance came close to lifting the trophy at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.

But Dr Bawumia said if a coach and his team were given the opportunity to deliver and they failed, they were sacked, hence Ghanaians must do same to John Dramani Mahama and his team of non-performing and incompetent Ministers.

Speaking to students at the Wa Campus of the University of Development Studies on Saturday, Dr Bawumia noted that only competent players could deliver results for a team and that a mediocre team would inevitably produce mediocre results.

That, he said, was because the most important factor that determined the performance of any team was competence and not hope, using the Black Stars and other football teams to illustrate his point.

‘Our Black Stars can be used as a benchmark for us to look up to because we have a Black Stars team made up of competent players in their own right. Competent players deliver results. A mediocre team will give you only mediocre results no matter the hope you have in them,’ he said.

Teams, according to him, ‘don’t win just on the basis of hope. If a team has a coach who is not good and players who are not good, disciplined and committed, then of course everyone would be justified to be cynical about the chances of that team.’

Instead, he insisted that ‘teams win because they work at it. A team performs when it has a competent coach or management whose tactics work; and good, disciplined and committed players’ and that ‘players who are not doing well are dropped for better players who fit the needed requirements’ while ‘new coaches are appointed to replace coaches who are not getting results.’

These, for him, were the critical factors to consider in ensuring performance for any team including the Black Stars—the reason there were constant changes in the Black Stars and all over the football world at the playing and technical levels.

Dr Bawumia said the same way players and coaches were dropped, governments which missed golden opportunities to transform their economies and improve the living conditions of the people should be shown the exit to pave way for competent administrations to deliver the needed results.

‘If you choose a player who cannot perform, will you select them again? If you give a player the chance to take a penalty and they turn to kick the ball in the opposite direction (and turn around to tell you it is a smart penalty kick), will you field them again? If you catch your goalkeeper or captain taking bribes to sell a match, will you field that goalkeeper or player?’ he asked, with each question being met with a spontaneous ‘No!’ from the packed crowd.

‘So same way players and coaches are dropped when they fail to perform, as a government, when you waste a golden opportunity you should be shown the door,’ he insisted.

He wondered why three years after Ghana started exporting oil, ‘we still go to the IMF, cup in hand, begging for a financial bailout,’ adding that ‘this is unforgivable!’

On the current troubled state of the Ghanaian economy, he pointed out that despite the fact that the current government had accrued much more resources than any government in the country’s history, the economy was now virtually broke because of mismanagement and unprecedented corruption.

Dr Bawumia noted that as a result of the frightening accumulation of debt under the NDC, Ghana now had huge interest payments to cough up, meaning that government now had little to spend on the critical sectors of the economy.

‘The interest payment on this debt in 2014 alone is four times Ghana’s oil revenue in 2014.  In 2015, interest payments alone on the debt would amount to GH¢9.5 billion (compared to a total debt stock of GH¢9.5 billion in 2008)’, he said, wondering how this could be described as smart borrowing, since according to him ‘the increase in interest payments by 4.3% of GDP between 2008 and 2015 (i.e. from 2.8% in 2008 to 7.1% in 2015) has left the government with very little money to spend on other critical areas.’

The government, explaining the national debt which had ballooned from GH¢9.5 billion in January 2009 to GH¢76 billion in December 2014, said it was ‘smart borrowing’ because the projects would pay for themselves, citing the Atuabo Gas project.

However, that was the only project that would pay for itself, as projects on roads and schools would not bring any financial returns.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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