Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said one of the key hindrances in fulfilling God’s purpose is corruption.
He emphasised that corruption inhibits economic growth and affects business operations, employment and investments opportunities also reduce tax revenue and the effectiveness of various financial assistance programmes.
Dr Bawumia made the remarks at the 59th Annual Session of the Ghana Baptist Convention (GBC) held at Ejura in the Ashanti Region.
The Annual Session was under the theme: ‘Fulfilling God’s Purpose, Growing God’s Church.’ He said in today’s world it has become increasingly important that nations deliberately develop systems that care for all, and empowers all and minimises the gap between the rich and the poor.
The Vice President said the issue of corruption was enveloped with sin and that “we live in a society where this phenomenon was one that we need to tackle. Corruption thrives in the very nature of the society that we have. It thrives in any society that is full of darkness. So much so that when there is darkness so much is hidden you cannot tell who is who. People’s identity is hidden.
“In a society where you have this type of darkness prevailing when you cannot tell the identity of a person then corruption can thrive. One can even go and borrow money from a bank and later change their name and then go to another bank to borrow. You have no sense of where people are or finding where they are because address systems do not exist. So, banks charge high interest rates.”
He bemoaned that, until recently, “people could easily present fake birth certificates, fake insurance certificates, some pay a bribe for a passport; some pay a bribe for a driver’s license; some pay a bribe to clear goods from the ports; some pay a bribe to register a business; others even pay a bribe to renew their National Health insurance.”
Touting the ruling government’s ongoing digitalization of the economy, the Vice President revealed that, since independence, successive governments had failed to focus on building systems and institutions that support economic activities in a modern way; reduce bribery and corruption; make the delivery of public services efficient, enhance domestic revenue mobilization or a system that will make life generally easier for Ghanaians.
He opined that, the fight against corruption was fought with systems but not with rhetoric. “So, we decided to make the GhanaCard the Tax Identification Number (TIN); the same GhanaCard your SSNIT number, your NHIS number and all of that. Having done that, the total number of the adult population with tax identification numbers has all of sudden gone up from 4% to 85% in one fell swoop”.
He noted that in Ghana today, almost every property has a digital address and that there was no need to pay a bribe for passport; no ‘goro’ boys involved in passport acquisition; you will go online you pay for it; and it can even be delivered to your house.
On the other hand, Dr. Bawumia applauded the Ghana Batist Convention for their immense contributions towards the spiritual, social, educational, health and human development of Ghana.
He specifically mentioned the establishment of the Baptist Health facilities across the nation with its flagship Baptist Medical Centre at Nalerigu in the North East Region, which had been the major source of health provision for the people of Northern Ghana, Northern Togo and Burkina Faso.
“The Baptist Vocational Training Centre has been a beacon of hope for many ‘Trokosi’ and less-privileged girls who through no fault of theirs found themselves in certain obnoxious cultural practices. Practices which took them away from pursuing education and equipping themselves to become self-sufficient members of society. The vocational training you offer these girls shows how much you are contributing to girl child education”.
Dr. Bawumia revealed his late father’s involvement in acquiring land for the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu, and acknowledged the Convention for the establishment of the Ghana Baptist University which recently held its 13th Graduation ceremony.
The Executive President of the Ghana Baptist Convention and Chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev. Dr. Ernest Adu-Gyamfi, used the occasion to announce the end of his 8-year tenure as the Executive President of the GBC.
He was optimistic that his administration was able to achieve great successes to uplift the image of the GBC, “Some of the achievements included the planting of 501 churches or congregations within 8 years, increased the annual revenue of the Convention by 280 per cent between 2014 and 2021, built the Baptist Guests House at Cantonment in Accra and establishment of SNB Television Network as an evangelism tool which reaches 46 million African homes and 5.5 million homes in Ghana among several other projects.