President John Dramani Mahama has been challenged to provide documentary evidence to back his claim that Ghana is not running to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bail-out from the current economic crisis.
Director of Operations of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP,) Nana Ofori-Owusu, who threw the challenge in an exclusive interview with this reporter, said this form of evidence instead of a verbal explanation would be the only way to convince Ghanaians that the president is telling the truth.
“If you are a President and a certain group of people have come out to state that a,b,c,d is the reason why they are not participating in this all important programme [Economic Forum] and you have information to the contrary, you should provide it and not verbal talk…,” he said.
President Dramani Mahama in a response to a New Patriotic Party (NPP) statement that the government has already written to IMF for a bail-out and it is holding the forum as a formality said his government has had nothing to do with the IMF to this regard.
“I have not taken any decision to enter our country into an IMF program,” the president affirmed in his opening remarks at the National Economic Forum currently underway in Akosombo in the Eastern region.
This response, the PPP Director of Operations said is not enough to prove the president’s innocence to the fact that Ghana has approached the Bretton Woods institution.
“He should have brought up that evidence to convince one of the key stakeholders that their concern is not true…,” Nana Ofori-Owusu added.
His doubts about the claims of the president, he said, were heightened by Ghana’s report to the international body, which was also the basis for the NPP’s conclusion, that Ghana was ready for the IMF conditionalities and was thus organising the forum as a ‘formality.’
“The Government of Ghana has adopted a comprehensive stabilisation and reform programme to correct the imbalances that have occurred in recent years and to lay the foundation for transforming the structure of the economy and safeguard its positive medium term prospects.
The main purpose of this document is to show a consolidated form of the “home-grown” policies that the government is implementing to correct the current imbalances in the economy with a view to securing the positive future prospects for the country,” the introduction of government document to the IMF read.
Titled: ‘Ghana economic and financial policies for the medium term (2014-2017,)’ the report authored by Government of Ghana outlines measures such as ensuring fiscal discipline that hinges on prudent public expenditure management; embarking on public sector reforms with particular emphasis on right-sizing the public service; reclassification of public debt and improvement in public debt management; and encouraging the private sector to participate in the accelerated growth agenda through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as part of the home-grown measures taken by government to arrest the current economic crisis.
“And if you have written such a report to the IMF, then it means you [government] is in bed with the IMF…and whatever I have to say [at the Economic Forum] is inconsequential because the conditionalities and the dictates of the IMF is what you have gone to put Ghana’s head in,” Nana Ofori-Owusu affirmed.
He continued that a press statement from the Bretton Woods institution calling for ‘further and better particulars’ in the report calls for further discussions, adding that ‘if it turns out to be true that government has indeed gone under IMF conditionalities, then that Economic Forum that we are holding is a useless forum.”
The basis of its uselessness, Nana Ofori said, lies in the fact that whatever discussions on-going at the forum are subject to conformity of IMF dictates since there is no avenue for government to implement any decision(s) which it sees best but not in-line with that of the international body.
“…that is why it would be hopeless, useless if indeed government has jumped into bed with IMF.”
The PPP director of operations admitted there is nothing wrong with going to IMF but opined that he would be happy if the president can take the bull by the horn and openly admit that Ghana is going the IMF way.
“If Mahama is going to IMF, he should be bold to tell the truth…[and] if he is able to do so, then [it would mean] the economic forum is a useless one because the blueprints for economic development has already been dictated by the IMF….,” he stated.
On the reasons for the current economic crisis, the PPP man outlined that the continuous fiscal indiscipline of government, the lack of addition to the country’s export and the inability of government to widen tax net as factors accounting for the crisis.
The issues of SADA, SUBAH, Info solutions and other scandals in the country are all attributes to the fiscal indiscipline which has caused the country to bleed thus calling President Mahama to lead by example and be bold to reveal the truth.
He continued that it is the lack of a bold and a disciplined leader in the country that has accounted for this, adding his party, the PPP, would fill such vacuum when elected into power.
A long-term solution for the country’s problems, the PPP man said, i the solutions to the country’s woes and was optimistic that would be what the PPP would provide on assumption into office.
“There should be continuity in our policies and that is what the PPP would offer to the country on assumption into office…,” Nana Ofori-Owusu concluded.