And now, the NDC, are asking Vice President Bawumia a question in the likeness of his hypothesis. Since the relative falling value of the cedi is what he meant by “exchange rate” in that statement, can we say the fallen value of the cedi has exposed the weak fundamentals of the economy managed the Akufo-Addo administration?
The answer, by Bawumia’s hypothesis, must be yes.
Since last year, NDC speakers in the media have been pushing the position that Bawumia has lost his laptop, i.e., the one he used to prepare his statements for the 2012 and 2016 seminars. In other words, they are asking why he is not criticising or responding to their criticism of how the economy is doing now. Interestingly, he responded the very week part one of this article was published. [Essentially, however, his response changes nothing about the focus of this article.]
The practical point is that people do not care for any exposure of anything caused by any factor(s), or even the partisan-political diatribe over the issues and between the two parties. All the people care about is how things or factors of all sorts affect the prices of commodities they purchase for domestic, commercial and other business purposes and how those prices changes affect their daily lives. And the people’s worst fears as far as how exchange rates can affect prices became reality in February-March this year. Vehicular petroleum-fuel prices have twice gone up by 20 pesewas per gallon over the last month, making an accrued total of 40 pesewas. Some commercial drivers are agitating that the TUC raise fares, but the raise is not high enough to warrant higher fares. Besides, Nana Akufo-Addo has reduced certain types of taxes; the intention is to leave money in some pockets (just as he has done with the free SHS policy), but the stringency in the economy could easily mop up that benefit.
Conversely, “load” and cargo commercial drivers are able to extract and are already extracting higher charges, which also go to affect prices of the commodities they transport. However, the main problem is that since most of the items Ghanaians use these days are imported, the fallen value of the cedi has pushed up prices of almost everything. For example, medicine Ti-Kelenkelen used to buy for GHC20.00 about a year ago is now GHC27.00; meanwhile, salary levels remain the same. Thus the falling value of the cedi is one of the economic changes citizens fear and always pray politicians will be able to arrest or even prevent.
Eventually, however, it appears politicians never learn any lessons, which must be because of either or both of two reasons. One, in planning development they focus too much on their fortunes at the ballot box, or two, they do not care about the people. It is even possible they properly see the task of actual development, realise it is so huge, tell themselves solving the problems is impossible so they resign and consign themselves to management affairs of state rather than building the country. That can bring them to focusing solely on their fortunes at the ballot box. Thus, the NDC is hammering on the fallen exchange rate of the cedi trying to make out of it as much electoral capital as they can against election 2020. In doing so, they forget the obvious – precisely that is what Bawumia and the NPP did in 2016.
Obviously, the two parties forget that the factors that affect and even shock the exchange rate of the cedi and our general economy are out of our control. The two main political parties use the failures consequent on those shocks to beat themselves up rather than mobilising all of us and the necessary resources to work hard to eventually eliminate those shock-inflicting factors. As long as they continue to do that, we can properly charge them with enjoying the comforts our monies are used to provide them without delivering on the responsibilities for which we give them all such comfort. And, internationally, African states continue to be vulnerable to and the laughing stock of the very states, whose prosperity, according to Walter Rodney, depends on our under-development. So, we should be asking ourselves whether after 60 odd years of independence we can term ourselves matured and ready for proper development. At the end of every decade and the commencement of the next one that is the question we, African states, should be asking ourselves.
Ultimately, what the people really care about and entertain expectations on is an improving standard of living which is closely related to cost of living. And that has very little to do with fine economic indices or even how high or low prices are and more to do with how much money people have in their hands, pockets or bags and whether it enables them, relatively and adequately, take care of their needs without too much hassle. Sometimes, it even has very little to do with the relative exchange rate of a country’s currency. (Please note, Ti-Kelenkelen did not say the relative falling or fallen value of a currency. And while some economists say a slightly fallen currency against say the dollar could eventually encourage exports, what they do not add is the challenges it comes with. One, the challenges could easily outweigh the benefits of improvement in exports, especially if a country’s economy is generally weak. Two, a country must have a relatively strong economy to enjoy that benefit; though not for too long, since it has its downside).
The exchange rate of the Japanese Yen and Chinese Yang are relatively high against the dollar; that is, compared to say the pound to the dollar. Yet, Japan and China are, generally, able to take good care of their populations’ needs in a much more satisfying way. The fact of the fore-going, and watching what goes on in other developed countries, one could safely say providing an improved standard of living to citizens must have much more to do with the general strength of a country’s economy, where “general strength” is a holistic concept that contains so many variables that are simultaneously interacting in so much simple and complex ways (and with other aspects of the general culture). Thus an improving standard of living is what the people of Ghana are looking forward to any time they vote out a national administration (that in their view has disappointed them) and vote in another. Yet politicians, persistently, either fail or refuse to realise that critical point term-in-term-out and generation after generation.
“And now, the NDC, are asking Vice President Bawumia a question in the likeness of his hypothesis… [and] …the answer, by Bawumia’s hypothesis, must be yes.”
“All the people care about is how things or factors of all sorts affect the prices of commodities they purchase for domestic, commercial and other business purposes and how those price changes affect their daily lives.”
“The two main political parties use the failures consequent on those shocks to beat themselves up rather than mobilising all of us and the necessary resources to work hard to eventually eliminate those shock-inflicting factors.”