Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has indicated the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is aware Ghana is completely in the right direction with regards to the internal measures and policies introduced to deal with the fundamental issues affecting the economy.
According to him, the Akufo-Addo government has put in place measures including salary cuts and others, and also programmes to deal with the fundamental issues affecting the economy.
He emphasized that Ghana would not go back to the IMF for bailout.
Mr Ofori-Atta said these when he was asked by a foreign journalist whether Ghana would consider going back to the IMF, at a press conference in Accra on Thursday May 12.
He said while answering the question that “All the white folks are just interested in us coming in the IMF programme. I always wonder why.”
“We are members of the fund; there are two major points of interventions that we have from the fund. One being the advise that we get because of the phenomenal expertise that the fund has and then secondly, these programme interventions which bring us some resources.
“I think, if you see from the budget that we constructed for 2022 and the subsequent announcement that we have done, clearly, the issue of Ghana having the capacity to think through the consolidation exercise exists. Also discipline itself with regards to the 20 per cent, etc, that we have shown clearly.”
He further indicated that “We have committed to not going back to the fund because in terms of the interventions and policy we are right there, the fund knows that we are completely in the right direction. The issue is, validating the programmes that we have put in place and then, in my view, supporting us to find alternative ways of financing or re-financing our debt, reprofiling it.”
According to the minister, the government has put in place measures including salary cuts and others, and also programmes to deal with the fundamental issues affecting the economy.
Already, Ken Ofori-Atta had emphatically stated that Ghana would not return to the IMF for support in order to deal with the challenges that the local economy is going through at the moment.
Speaking at the 3rd Townhall meeting on the E-levy on Thursday February 10, at the the Radache Hotel in Tamale in the Northern Region, he indicated that a return to the Bretton Woods institution will have dire consequences.
He also indicated that Ghana had the capacity to raise domestic revenue for development.
The government had been called upon to return to the IMF for support instead of relying on the E-levy for revenue.
For instance, a former Member of Parliament for New Juabeng South, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah believed that a return would rescue Ghana’s struggling economy.
“Without a doubt, I think we should be placing a call to Washington if we haven’t really done that. We are just not going to ask for the funds just because E-levy has been passed or not. E-levy will just bring about GH¢5 billion. We are in a deep hole of our tax revenue and facing difficulties, so going to the Fund will give us some support.
“So there is nothing wrong with going to the Fund. Ghana is a member of the IMF so what is wrong going to ask for support when we are in difficulties to go and pool resources. If I was the finance minister, I will be convincing the President that it is about time we went back,” he told Citi.
Mark Assibey Yeboah also added that the revenue expected to be accrued from the E-levy is to ensure the economic stability government is eyeing.
He further cast doubt on the government’s ability to raise the projected GH¢6.9 billion target, saying the maximum the government can raise from the controversial e-levy is GH¢5 billion.
“The GH¢6.9 billion target cannot be realized. There are a lot of exemptions so, in my estimation, the maximum amount we can get from the E-levy is GH¢5 billion, and that is less than a billion dollars, so I do not think that the E-levy is going to be a panacea to our revenues. Going to the IMF will ensure some stability and above all, we are going to get some $3 billion”.
But Mr Ofori-Atta who had earlier stated that the government would not go back to the IMF insisted that “I can tell you, as my colleague deputy said, we are not going back to the IMF, whatever we do we are not [going back]. The consequences are dire, we are a proud nation, we have the resources , we have that capacity, don’t let anybody tell you … we are not people of short-sighted, we need to move on,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.
On the aspect of rising cost of living, the Finance Minister said that several other African countries are experiencing severe economic challenges.
“Today, 41 African economies are severely exposed to, at least, one of three concurrent crisis, rising food prices , rising energy prices , tightening financial conditions Finance Ministers now call it the dreaded three Fs; Food, fuel and financial conditions.
“That is just a ripple through in all Africa, and food prices easily about 34 per cent higher , crude oil prices some 60 per cent.