Maiden Town Hall Meeting of Economic Management Team

April 3, Ghana experienced yet another democratic feat with the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia leading the nation’s Economic Management Team, EMT, to send governance closer to the people with a Town Hall Meeting. The event, first of its kind in many years saw the Vice President presenting over an hour and half speech cataloguing some unique achievements and challenges of the government in respect of national economic development. The EMT though not a constitutional body, collates views and formulates economic policies to enhance the economic delivery in the country.
It is the highest economic decision-making body which advises the central government on economic matters in the country. With the contributions of the members of the Economic Team and their reactions to the questions and contributions from the audience, coupled with the excellent presentation by the Vice President, the event appeared as a State of the Nation Address. It covered several crucial economic issues on national development, ranging from roads, rail, ports, taxes and duties. The public engagement also afforded government the opportunity to disseminate its economic policies and programmes to stakeholders while seeking the opinions of people on economic issues affecting the citizenry. There was exceptional clarity in the Vice President’s message and was arguably devoid of ambiguity.
There have however been different interpretations with reference to the computation of the reduced benchmark values at the Port. But in all, it was definite and very much relevant to the meeting. Articulation and content were on point. The visual demonstration painted vivid picture of the subject matter under discussion. The message was meaningful to many who were present and those monitoring from around the globe. This was clear from the questions raised from all classes of people. The objective of the event was achieved. Even though the presentation was over an hour, the audience expressed satisfaction because it was concise and there was ample time for questions. It is also worth commending the manner in which the questions session was handled.
The moderator, though difficult, managed to give opportunity to a lot of people to make their contributions or ask questions. It was refreshing that the moderator did not allow the media to hijack the event. Questions asked were also impressive. The audience was seen desiring for more and this is a genuine indication of a good presentation. In all, there were nearly 30 questions from the audience representing the cross-section of all stakeholders in the national economy. The humorous expressions and carefully constructed insinuations spice up the presentation. Aspects of the presentation such as the detailed modification of ports processes to build a modern, prosperous and a private sector driven economy anchored on the “Ghana Beyond Aid” was hailed by almost all.
One of the motivational moments was when the Vice President said, quote “to reduce the incidence of smuggling and enhance revenue, the benchmark or delivery values of imports have been reduced by 50 percent except for vehicles which will be reduced by 30% effective 4th April 2019”. Unquote. Though he obviously expressed bias towards his party, he was not emotional and therefore did not drive his audience and the whole nation away from the subject. One can clearly conclude that the event was not only interesting but more importantly, beneficial to Ghanaians.
By Nana Sifa Twum, Media and Communications Consultant – London- UK

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