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Akufo-Addo and four appointees who are in line of fire over IMF move

Akufo-Addo and four appointees who are in line of fire over IMF move

The government on the occasion of this year’s Republic Day [July 1] – a day that marks the establishment of Ghana as a sovereign republic, announced its intention to begin formal engagements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the possibility of extending a credit facility programme to the country.

The decision has since ruffled feathers with various groups and individuals expressing divergent opinions on the subject matter.

While some believe the decision was long overdue, others have criticized government for not standing it grounds not to return to the Fund.

As the discussion rages on, Zylofongh takes a look at some government officials who publicly opposed a move for an IMF bailout.

Ken Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta may as well be the most lampooned cabinet minister at the moment following government’s announcement of a return to the IMF.

This is because he insisted that government would not return to the Fund owing to its dire consequences for the nation.

He argued that homegrown solutions including the passage of the E-levy should be adopted by the country to face it economic challenges.

“I can say; we are not going to the IMF. Whatever we do, we are not. Consequences are dire, we are a proud nation, we have the resources, we have the capacity. We are not people of short-sight, but we have to move on.

“So let’s think of who we are as strong proud people, the shining star of Africa, and we have the capacity to do whatever we want to do if we speak one language and ensure that we share the burden in the issues ahead,” Ken Ofori-Atta said on February 10 during a the Northern Regional townhall meeting on E-levy.

The Finance Minister is yet to make a public pronouncement following government’s decision

<>John Kumah

Deputy Minister of Finance, John Kumah, is also on record to have ruled out a return to the IMF under the NPP administration.

Mounting a spirited defense for the passage of the E-levy in Parliament, the Ejisu MP dismissed suggestions from the NDC to go to the IMF.

He said the NPP through solutions like the E-levy have demonstrated it competence without resorting to conditionalities from the Fund.

“Mr. Speaker, the E-levy is also going to help with the fiscal consolidation effort and reduce the debt levels of country and that also means that we are going to see an improved economic rating and not returning to the International Monetary Fund which is the only solutions our friends on the other side have always proffered. “Why don’t you go to the IMF?”, “go to the IMF”…

“We have shown that we have alternatives to building the economy of this country without resorting to conditionalities that will be imposed on this country.

“We will not go to the IMF today we will not go to the IMF tomorrow and we are not going as long as the NPP remains in power,” John Kumah said.

Meanwhile he has made a U-turn on his earlier position stating in an interview with TV3 that the return to IMF is to restore confidence in the economy and to help the economy to rebound quickly.

Kennedy Agyapong

He is not known to be an economic guru but is famed for brutally expressing his candid opinion on issues of national interest.

Amidst the insistence of the several Civil Society Organizations and the opposition NDC for the country to seek an IMF bailout, the Assin Central MP waded into the conversation stating that the NPP has not failed as a government to return to the Fund.

“I hear some people argue that we should go to the IMF. Any government that goes to IMF has failed and we haven’t failed. For the good works that we have done in this country, we should applaud Ken Ofori-Atta [Finance Minister],” the maverick politician said on Asaase Radio months back.

Kennedy Agyapong has since decried the government’s decision saying that “it is just like handing over power to the NDC without a contest”.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

The then running mate to NPP’s flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia was largely projected as an ‘economic Messiah’ ahead of the 2016 elections.

To a large extent, many credited him for making economic issues a subject of political scrutiny and one that mattered in elections.

When the NDC administration sought IMF bailout in 2015, Dr. Bawumia criticized the move stating that “the IMF bailout was totally avoidable if the government had listened to sound advice from many quarters much earlier”.

Upon winning the 2016 elections, Dr. Bawumia, became head of government’s Economic Management Team (EMT).

The NDC has since slammed the EMT accusing it of superintending over economic mismanagement that had plunged Ghana into the current situation.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo, like Bawumia, in 2015 lampooned the NDC government lamenting why an oil rich country like Ghana was heading for an IMF bailout.

“For the first time in #history, an oil rich country, some five years into oil production, is seeking a #bailout from the #IMF,” he tweeted on April 19, 2015

In early 2015, Ghana turned to the IMF for a US$918 million loan to help stabilize the economy.

IMF advisors, working with the Ghanaian government under former President John Dramani Mahama, developed a three-part program: Restore debt sustainability, Strengthen monetary policy, and cleaning up the banking system.

The government limited hiring and wage increases and eliminated subsidies for utilities and petroleum products.

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