On Thursday, the 1st of December 2022, NDC MPs turned the serious business of a budget debate into a comedy session when Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, Isaac Adongo, made some jokes at the expense of Vice President Bawumia and an innocent footballer.

Adongo, in full rhetorical mode, likened the Vice President to Manchester United captain and England defender, Harry Maguire.

Adongo claimed that Bawumia is an ‘economic Maguire’, scoring ‘own goals’.

“There’s a player in the United Kingdom in England called Maguire that is playing for Manchester United. Harry Maguire, he is a defender,” stated Adongo. “He was tackling everybody and throwing his body everywhere like he was the best defender in the world.”

“Manchester United went and bought him. He became the biggest threat at the centre of Manchester United’s defence, tackling Manchester players and giving assists to opponents. Mr speaker, when even the opponents failed to score Maguire would score for them.

“You remember in this country we also have an economic Maguire. The same economic Maguire was giving lectures at university on how to restore the value of the city. Mr speaker, when we gave this Maguire the opportunity to be at the centre of our defence, he became the risk of our own goal. Dr Bawumia, our economic Maguire.” Adongo said.

Whilst a funny speech – albeit in poor taste – its contents could not be further from the truth.

Ghana’s Vice President, Dr Bawumia, has distinguished himself in multiple ways, before and after gaining power.

An economic genius – Bawumia has in the past worked as a lecturer in Monetary Economics, and International Finance at the Emile Woolf College of Accountancy in London, England. He has also served as an economist at the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, USA and an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, USA.

At the Bank of Ghana, Bawumia was a visionary, working tirelessly to help establish several significant reforms. In the mid-2000s, before mobile money (MoMo) was even a thing, he spearheaded the establishment of the Ghana Interbank Payment Systems (GHIPPS) common platform for all banks, savings and loans companies and rural banks, offering interoperability across different financial institutions.

That later became a big part of Ghana’s current mobile money interoperability regime, which has been adjudged the best in Africa.

In power, Bawumia has massively transformed portions of Ghanaian society with his digital agenda and is in the process of completely transforming the economy. Accomplishments such as the medical drone service, the national electronic pharmacy platform (NEPP), digital property address system, digitised operations at all government agencies and the introduction of the biometric, national identity card known as Ghana card, have moved the country considerably forward towards the 4th industrial revolution

Most crucially, Bawumia has taken domestic revenue generation to an entirely new level with his innovations. Digitalised operations at the Passport Office and DVLA, among others, has significantly increased revenue and cut down on waste and corruption. The Ghana card and the digital property address system are key to massively widening the tax net and new innovations to the GRA such as a taxpayers app and others are all projected to massively increase domestic revenue generation, providing a lasting solution to an issue that has plagued Ghanaian governments for generations.

Hence whilst the Ghanaian economy is facing challenges – challenges that are hardly unique – the mitigating factors are plentiful and Bawumia has continued to fight through, constantly proposing new, out-of-the-box ideas such as the recent gold for oil policy.

In light of all these, Bawumia is hardly an economic Maguire – some might even call him an Economic Messi for completely transforming the Ghanaian economy and society towards a digital world.

Funnily enough, whilst Maguire might be having issues at Manchester United, he remains at the centre of England’s defence at the World Cup that has breezed through the group stages.

On the greatest stage of all – the World Cup – Maguire is performing at a high level. Perhaps, not the jab Isaac Adongo might believe it to be!