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General News of Thursday, 10 January 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

We can’t blame IMF for our problems – Prof. Aryeetey

The immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, has said there is no credence to fears the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is looking to keep countries like Ghana dependent on it.

On Citi TV’s Face to Face, Prof. Aryeetey asserted that it was the nation’s responsibility to make the most of its involvement with the IMF.

“What we haven’t done is our problem. We shouldn’t place our problems on the doorstep of the IMF,” he said.

The support from the IMF needs to be used to invest in high productivity areas for high returns and “you’ve got to force yourself to make the sacrifices that would be required in order to do the transformation,” Prof. Aryeetey explained.

He added that it is also “an issue of how do you use the resources available; how do you use the space in terms of policy; how do you use that to prepare for a longer term transformation.”

From his point of view, Prof. Aryeetey said there was no need to regard Ghana’s relationship with the IMF with any cynicism.

“The IMF has often provided support; a stop-gap measure. In times of instability, the IMF has always been there to assist, so I think it is a very worthy relationship; one that clearly has had its ups and downs over the years.”

For him, there is no benefit to the IMF to “keep countries like us on their knees.”

“I don’t see the incentive for the IMF to want to do that… I don’t think the IMF was out there to want to keep us in the programme.”

Ghana’s most recent involvement with the IMF saw it enter into an extended credit facility in 2015 to help stabilize the economy for policy credibility.

The deal came with initial funding support of $918 million to be disbursed under eight tranches.

Under the agreement, the government was expected to implement some policy initiatives such as a freeze of public sector employment, reduction of the budget deficit, and zero financing of the budget deficit by the Bank of Ghana.