Bawumia: "I Will Choose Ghana Card Over 1,000 Interchanges" & Other Things Vice President Said During Lecture

Bawumia: "I Will Choose Ghana Card Over 1,000 Interchanges" & Other Things Vice President Said During Lecture

  • Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has gotten tongues wagging on social media for some of the statements he made on Thursday during a public lecture
  • Many people are trolling him for saying that he would choose the Ghana card over 1,000 interchanges
  • The vice president has also been mocked for suggesting that former President John Mahama is partly to blame for the country's current economic challenges

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Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia on Thursday stirred controversy with some comments he made during a lecture; one of them being that he would choose the Ghana Card over 1,000 interchanges.

Ghana card and interchange
Stock image of a Ghana Card and an interchange in Ghana. Source: Facebook/@ricky.kwame,
Source: Facebook

In the vice president's attempt to get Ghanaians to buy into the national digitalisation drive he is leading, he said a successful national ID system like the Ghana Card was better than some physical infrastructure. He said a national ID system was a major vehicle for rapid transformation.

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"Today, we have 16 million Ghanaians with unique identities, and that is a major transformation. A lot of people sometimes do not appreciate its impact…If you gave me 1,000 interchanges and the Ghana card, I would choose the Ghana card because it has more impact," he said.

He made the comments during a speech at the launch of two new high-level information technology programmes at Accra Business School at Baatsona in Accra.

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The statement stoked a lot of funny and sometimes negative comments on social media. Many Ghanaians felt his comparison was disingenuous.

Mahama and NDC blamed in 2022

The vice president also included the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration under former President John Mahama to the list of reasons Nana Akufo-Addo is going to the IMF for a bail out.

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Bawumia blames Mahama and NDC for Akufo-Addo’s decision to go for IMF bail out

He said apart from the global shocks caused by the Ukraine war and the Covid pandemic, two other internal factors compelled Nana Akufo-Addo's administration to go to the IMF.

The two are the banking sector crisis, which he blamed on poor supervision by regulatory authorities under the previous John Mahama government, and the power agreements resulting in mandatory payments in excess capacity charges.

"In addition to COVID-19, there were two major items of expenditure that are critical to understanding the evolution of the fiscal deficit and the debt stock: the Banking Sector Clean up (GH¢ 25 billion) and the Energy Sector Excess Capacity payments (GH¢ 17 billion).
"The excess capacity payments of GH¢17 billion relate to a legacy of take or pay contracts that saddled our economy with annual excess capacity charges of close to $1 billion. These were basically contracts to supply energy to Ghana way in excess of our requirements, but we were obligated to pay for the power whether we use it or not," he said.

Read also

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Analogy of the carpenter and the roof

Ghanaians also trolled the vice president for using two roofed houses to drum home his point that uncontrollable external forces pushed Ghana's economy to the brink.

"If you ask a carpenter to roof your house and suddenly the roof collapses without any wind or rainfall, will you not blame the carpenter who did the roofing?
"But if a carpenter roofs your house and the roof collapses because of a tornado and a storm which has also blown away the roofs, windows, and walls of many houses, will you blame the carpenter?" he said.

Many on social media mocked the comparison as shallow.

Brace yourself for more difficult times

Although many Ghanaians were expecting Vice President Bawumia to offer words of hope about good policies government intends introduce to solve the economic hardship, he asked Ghanaians to brace themselves for tougher times.

Read also

Free SHS & others may not be scrapped over IMF Bail-Out but modifications are likely – Economists

He said the economic hardship might worsen because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

"Unfortunately, judging from where we are today, there is no end in sight for the Russia-Ukraine war. While we hope for a quick end to the war, we must understand that things could get worse before they get better," Dr Bawumia warned.

Three out of four Ghanaians don’t believe E-Levy will fund development programmes - Survey reported in a separate story that a new Afrobarometer survey shows three out of four Ghanaians disapprove of the recently passed electronic transaction levy (E-Levy).

Also, 76% of Ghanaians surveyed think the new tax regime is bad because it will increase the tax burden on the poor and ordinary citizens. This includes 63% who “strongly agree” with this view.

Aspects of the Round 9 (2021/2022) findings of the Afrobarometer survey on Ghana were released on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD).

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