Ghana’s finance minister, Ken Ofori has been in joyous mood since the approval of the IMF loan. His tweet account has been all encapsulating on the approval deal. In his latest statement on the subject, minister Ofori Atta again showed his boisterous disposition by arguing that the approval offers an indication how Ghana can easily enter the international capital market for more funds.
For many who may not be aware, with the IMF approval listing, Ghana is likely to attract interest from the international business communities. That implies Ghanaians should be expecting investors who prior to the IMF approval, were scared away by our bad debt listing. With the latest development, they are likely to be confident enough to rethink through their earlier fears.
Perhaps, that explains why minister Ofori Atta said immediately after the IMF approval that Ghana is all about set to once again enter the international capital market. That means Ghana can again go borrowing elsewhere without necessarily, only with the Bretton Wood institutions. Businesses or investors can, be it local or foreign, also not be shying away from lending us capital to other strategic areas of the Ghanaian economy.
Clearly, if these are not just assumptions, but realistic stimulus that are likely to hit the Ghanaian economy, then in no time, our economy will once again take a bounce and be on the high. So the magical wand here is the IMF. However, is it the first time Ghana is accessing loan from the International Monetary Fund? It may have started in the First Republic but, our highest point of engagement with the IMF occurred in the Rawlings’ PNDC, then almost all governments in the Fourth Republic came, adding up to the pile.
In all, this is our 18th successful romance with the IMF. So what is the joy all about? Indeed, followers of this government’s dealing with the IMF are not the least surprised. This is a government that celebrated Ghana’s last exit from a similar IMF programme with a kenkey party. It does seem the populist orientation of the administration knows no bound; and they will continue to showcase the least achievements with all pomp and pageantry.
But in the case of the IMF, I make bold prediction that it’s not yet anything close to joy with the IMF breakthrough. There are still issues left unattended to in order for us to live the IMF breakthrough. As it stands, there is no guarantee that the IMF loan will make other capital market lenders and investors to once again make Ghana their destinations. This is because there is still wastes in the system that may hinder capital flow into the country.
The President’s ministers are in excess of eighty, an issue that gained the attention of the IMF and the international capital market during the preparations for the IMF loan. Again, there is no indication that the establishment is doing anything to improve our fiscal policy. Even those who are cited in many corruption charges are still walking around freely; likewise, those others indicted in the official Auditor General's reports.
Recently, top government officials, many of who work at the presidency were embroiled in serious scandal about small scale mining. Instead of making attempts to establish the authenticity or otherwise of the report by the ministerial committee set up by the President, the affected parties are rather fighting the Professor Frimpong Boateng report. As a way of coaxing the IMF in the days preceding the IMF loan agreement, the government presented what has easily become a façade of cutting government expenditure.
Indeed, the decision that ministers and all other government appointees should reduce their public expenditure has totally failed. Unfortunately for the country, these are issues that the IMF and other prospective lenders and investors are by now contemplated about. So, it’s not uhuru or joy yet for minister Ofori Atta.
These market players are also aware of how Ghana’s debt slate was cleanly cleared during President Kufuor’’s HIPC period. They also know how Ghana has become a regular customer at the IMF. So getting such meagre $3 Billion may not be the magical wand to drive businesses and investors to Ghana. For, now the finance minister and his cohorts can only live in their delusions and populist cosmetics.
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