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General News of Wednesday, 2 November 2016


You run to IMF when you run out of ideas - Nduom

The Progressive People’s Party Presidential Candidate has ruled out the involvement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the economic turnaround of Ghana if he is voted for in December.

Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom said the Britton Wood institution is there for countries that have run out of ideas and have nowhere else to turn to for solutions to their economic challenges.

“What can they tell us that we don’t know about?” he quizzed, adding “There are a lot of things that they [IMF] will tell us that we don’t want so what we know must be done and PPP administration will do it without having someone to tell us.”

The celebrated Ghanaian businessman made these remarks when he addressed members of the Trade Union of Ghana (TUC) Wednesday in Accra.

Ghana’s relation with the IMF and World Bank dates back to 1981 when a parliamentary delegation was sent to the United States to hold talks with the institution over the nation’s economic problems.

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, then a Member of Parliament (MP) was part of the delegation.

The result of the discussion was the decision by the country to go through the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) from 1983 to 1992.

The neo-liberal programme was both economic and political in nature. It came with specific prescriptions linked to the conditional loan doled out to the country.

SAP was tied to the implementation of market-oriented policies such as trade liberalization, privatization, and fiscal discipline.

Some scholars have described the programme as a bitter pill forced down the throat of African countries.

Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia, Robert Fatton had said in 1992 that SAPs were a hindrance rather than a form of assistance due to the “global capitalist” economies behind the loan process.

Ghana was again to run to IMF in 2001 for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative of the institution under the erstwhile President Kufuor government. The programme saw the country receiving about $3.7 billion in debt relief between 2001 to 2004.

The governing National Democratic Congress has again gone to the Britton Wood institution seeking help and credibility for the country’s economy.

Although President John Mahama has described the decision to go to IMF as painful, he said it was necessary to put the economy of Ghana in the best shape.

He said Ghana would wean itself from the Fund’s support at the end of the three-year programme which ends in 2017.

But Dr Nduom said the rate at which the country turns to the IMF for help is disingenuous.

“We will turn to ourselves and if we need to make sacrifices we will talk and decide on that,” he said.

He cited a situation in which the World Bank decided not to support the people of Korea with funds because they had wanted to use the money to construct giant ships.

General Park Chung Hee who was then the leader of Korea forged ahead and generated the needed funds to build the ships and industries which are serving the people and the world today, he said.

“As for us we like what is easy and what is easy is that we write a paper go to Washington and bamboozle them to get some money,” he said, adding “it is about time we stop going there and rely on the wonderful brain God has given us in Ghana.”