Is Ghana’s return to the IMF necessary?

Within five years of breaking away from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with glee and fun fare, the West African country couldn’t survive its independence. Like a spouse returning to rejoin its partner after a make-up, Ghana reneged on its own promise never to return to its “matrimonial home.”

But we dare ask: 17 times after dating but not seeing much improvement in such circumstances, does Ghana have to continue seeing the same lover for the same promises?

Was it necessary or was it rather convenient?

Most Ghanaians expressed shock and dismay because of the heart wrenching and bleeding conditionality that go with a visit to the Bretton Woods institution. Jobs are cut, subsidies are removed and taxes and more taxes, as well as levies continue to make life difficult for citizens.

Nations around the world have suffered hardships one way or the other, including even wars. Such nations as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, India, South Korea and China to say the least have all undergone various forms of economic problems and they have always been able to emerge from the financial and economic throes they went through. At times help comes in the form of external aid as in the case of the Marshall Plan post-World War II for Germany’s rehabilitation. Debt forgiveness from lenders has occurred a few times for Ghana and some debtor countries.

But the world’s economic problems would rear its ugly head again for countries that refuse to take prudent measures against malfeasance and symptoms that landed them in the economic debacle in the first place. Many times too, some have home-grown strategies that have worked for them. Singapore in less than its 65 years of existence, has risen from a patch of wet land to be a major global trade and commerce hub.

Amandla’s decision to be informal and non-traditional as in figures and data does not preclude the need for fiscal discipline that is always the crux of the matter. In Ghana and other developing nations political engines drive spending against prudence. What wins elections have moved from reason to satisfying public opinion and political considerations against prudential fiscal discipline. In much the same way some institutions become waste pipes as their core mandates overlap and become impractical.

Public investigative bodies abound in Ghana. The Special Prosecutor’s office is a case in point. The Ghana Police Service, National Investigation Bureau, (formerly, the Bureau of Nation Investigations), the Attorney-General’s Department, EOCO, CHRAJ, and all those constitute fiscal indiscipline. Why not merge some of these bodies for a more effective performance, especially against corruption? Why not encourage and resource civil society organizations and parliamentary and constitutional bodies for better accountability and oversight authority? Talking about accountability does not preclude the media as a policing force removing itself from being partisan but becoming more fearless and incorruptible.

It is a common refrain that Ghana abounds in minerals among several other resources, but Ghanaians do not benefit from them. General I. K. Acheampong, late head of state and chairman of the then National Redemption Council declared that Ghanaians must control “the com­manding heights of their economy.” He went on to nationalize the mining industry giving Ghanaians 51 per­cent of the control of share as against investors taking practically every­thing away. We believe the same IMF recommended return to the status quo giving back total control of the extractive industry. Same is true of the entire extractive industry.

Amandla is convinced that the professionalism re­quired in agreements and contracts is lacking and deserve to be reviewed in all cases. In almost all cases the people of Ghana deserve a review of all such mining, drilling and land acquisition literature.

The agricultural sector deserves a make-over. Cocoa production has improved tremendously, but more needs to be done. The 1 district 1 fac­tory program is an excellent start in industrialization and must be given the boost attracting more investors from within and without the country. New products must be encouraged and produced for process. Cassava, rice and corn; bananas, plantains and yams as well as other cereals native to the Savannah regions of the nation are all potential export produce. Meat and fish deserve mention as well. Small as the country is, it has the potential of feeding its own citizens and its neigh­bors. Agricultural production has the potential of becoming the bedrock of Ghana’s industrialization.

Money lost to corruption in Ghana, according to the Ghana Integrity of Public Services Survey in 2021 through payment of bribes to public officials is approximately GHS5 bil­lion. A statement by Occupy Ghana, a pressure group and a former ally of the NPP, claims that Ghana is looking for $2 billion from the IMF.

But the amount of money lost to or stolen from the nation between 2016 and 2020 is GHC47,945,579,875. In dollar terms it amounts to almost three times the $2 billion Ghana is seeking from the IMF. This is not all. Several billions of cedis continue to be lodged with public and civil servants and politicians as bribes that need to be repaid but they walk free without any attempt to redeem the debts, notwithstanding the efforts made by Occupy Ghana to resort to the courts for redress. This is disappointing and surprising for a nation seeking to rid itself of corruption and a government that prides itself of being responsible and purposeful, claiming to be fight­ing corruption.

Besides corruption, phenomenal gov­ernment expenditure cuts deep into the meager revenue generated. This too needs serious review.

We dare ask: Quo Vadis, Ghana?

Posted by on Jul 27 2022. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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