Think Progress Ghana, a think tank, is calling for the negotiation for structural policies that will improve macroeconomic and financial market stability that will drive sustainable long-term economic growth.
This, according to the think tank, had become necessary as the assistance offered by foreign entities such as the IMF were only meant for a short-term.
This was contained in a press statement on Ghana’s return to the IMF issued by the think tank and copied to the Ghanaian Times yesterday.
Additionally, it said, “any fiscal adjustment programme the government negotiates for should protect the poor and the vulnerable in the country as well as the emerging middle class, protect our industries, protect our jobs, and improve productivity as well as increase the purchasing power of the Ghanaian worker.”
The think tank also urged the government and the IMF to consider a strict fiscal programme to restore and maintain debt sustainability, an improvement in expenditure efficiency and strict adherence to the procurement law and processes and focus on making long-term investments that had the potential of generating revenue to service debts that would be incurred from those investments.
Other considerations proposed included the publishing of the home-grown policy which the ongoing negotiations was based on, announcement of interim findings regarding public debt, interest payments requirements, comprehensive fiscal and international reserves, buildup of our sovereign wealth funds, proper coordination of monetary and fiscal policies, improvement in budget transparency and the implantation of strategies to improve revenue collection.
Again, it proposed for the provision of information on wage and emolument statistics and a possible employment development under an IMF programme and accountability from government.
These considerations, the think tank said, would help ensure credibility, trust and transparency from the public.
While commending President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for reaching out to the IMF for a bailout programme, the think tank noted that the factors that had contributed to the decision could have been prevented if the economy was well managed.
Reckless borrowing, wasteful spending and corruption, the think tank said, had led to a deteriorated bond rating, coupled with expensive sovereign bond and domestic market, leaving government with no choice than to return to the IMF.
Moreover, the think tank debunked claims by the government that current global crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war were some of the reasons for its return to the IMF.
It said, “Our neighbours (including Cote d’Ivoire and Togo) faced the same global challenges, but they have not gone to the IMF for financial assistance.”
For instance, the think tank noted that Ghana had lost GH₵50.8 billion due to irregularities from 2017 to 2021, which was equivalent to $6.35 billion (at the current exchange rate of GH₵8 to $1), according to the Auditor-General’s report.
This, the think tank indicated, was three times the amount ($2 billion) that the government would allegedly receive from the IMF bailout.
It had therefore called on the IMF to take extra steps in its interaction with the public about public debts, reserves, balance of payment status and the general situation “as assessed by the agreed data”.
This was because the factors that had contributed to the current state of the country’s economy happened when it was under an IMF programme from 2017 to early part of 2019.