Why we should have been to IMF 2021

IMF for policy support are going back to the same institution we got ourselves from for economic recovery.

Why we should have been to IMF 2021

We have the men conundrum, substituting competence with greed cronyism, and leadership paralysis. Why we should have been to IMF 2021.

It is disparaging, to say the least, the level of uninformed propaganda thrown at the former administration for going to the IMF for fiscal framework support. 

The party in government now that pushed their full arsenal of propaganda has today after 3 years of exiting IMF for policy support are going back to the same institution we got ourselves from for economic recovery.

Their argument is, that there are global crises such as Russia/Ukraine and Covid-19 which have affected growth. One wonders if the so-called crises have not had any repercussions on our neighboring countries and therefore the crises are unique to us in Ghana.

Before you engage in such an argument a comparative analysis of the state of the economy and that of our neighboring countries ought to be made clear. None of them has inflation as high as that of ours, and none of them has debt levels as high as that of Ghana. Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, etc are not in the same quagmire as us. It gets more pronounced when the current government made all believe that ours was the best-performing economy in the West African Sub-Region.

We were equally bombarded daily with media embellished proclamations of the government’s stellar performance in managing the Covid-19 pandemic, the best in the world!

It beggars belief therefore that the most resilient economy in the subregion, the best handlers of the Covid-19 pandemic suddenly has lapsed into a state of economic unconsciousness requiring resuscitation at the intensive care unit (ICU).

The propaganda-intoxicated government has been at speed with its spin holding the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine war as the twin culprits of its overnight paralysis into near economic oblivion. 

It is this shameless and deceptive crookery of the Ghanaian people that inform the inspiration of this article.
Before Russia/Ukraine, there were several warnings that this administration did not heed. Warning signals were issued by Bretton Woods institutions, credit rating agencies, and well-meaning stakeholders.

Our debt levels were hitting the skies and were very scary. Revenues were not met but reports were made to show the contrary; creative accounting stuff. Inflation as reflected in the daily changes in prices of goods on the market was on the ascendancy but the official rates were nose-diving, credit rating dropped with a very poor fiscal framework, and the balance of payment deficit kept climbing the upward ladder moving US$ 430million to US$ 1 billion by the end of 2021. 

We are at a point where our reserve has become depleted and will be difficult to pay our maturing loans.

All these inadequacies worsened in the first quarter of 2021, yet much against expert opinion and honest counsel, the government only intensified its propaganda and sought to rubbish and vilify any person who was seen not to be part of the praise-singing!

It became obvious that the administration was not ready to redeem itself from the mess it had created. We found it a habit of the government to run away from accountability. Usage of Covid funds, chartered flights, withdrawals from the consolidated fund without proper approval, and dubious payments among others served as the ingredients of the arsenic cocktail that eventually threw us into a stupor, and thence the paralysis.

Ours has been a problem of leadership failure that birthed greed, cronyism, and corruption in the most grotesque forms all of which received express and tacit approval of a president who assumed the reigns of leadership on the back of anti-corruption and protection of the public purse.

Clearly, the president has never shown the kind of leadership that Ghanaians were expecting from him. Our inadequacies are far from Russia/Ukraine. The signals were clear in 2019 when the government for propaganda purposes got off the IMF program after the initial extension.

You cannot have over 100 ministers and say you are managing an economy well, you cannot have over 200 CEOs and their deputies and say you are managing a fragile economy like ours well. You cannot harbor an absentee minister and say you are practicing good governance. The President cannot be adamant and put deaf ears to reshuffling his appointees and saying they are doing well. Their performance will action for the economy.

The finance minister lost it long ago but because of his closeness to the president, it has become difficult for him to be rebuked. In a civil and properly functioning society, he would not have been in that office in the first place because his business interests conflict with the position he’s in trust for the Republic.

When your debt levels hit the crisis point, you cannot blame it on the 6-month Russia/Ukraine war. The President is aware of the human resource capacity of his political party but because of the feeling good factor and the people he has surrounded himself with, and also his personal “I don’t like you” attitude, it is becoming difficult to assemble good hands with worthy credibility to help him deal with the crises. He simply lacks the basic leadership skills to help him govern well.

As a member of the IMF, how can a government with a propaganda motive suggest that the institution is evil with its conditionalities? The bad society that you are a member of extended a helping hand when you cried to it, and you withdrew US$ 2 billion as RCF and EFF.

The IMF is not bad as the government wants us to believe, the institution will ensure fiscal discipline and responsibility, credibility, and credit worthiness and would eventually attract investors.

Story By Kwaku Donkoh.