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Opinions of Sunday, 11 January 2009

Columnist: Agbodza, Kwami

President Mills Must Revoke World Bank Ishac Diwan’s Free Market Visa

Kwami Agbodza

We call on Asomdwehene President John Atta-Mills of the 4th Republic of Ghana to immediately summon Ishac Diwan to the Office of the President to give him an ultimatum to either shut up in Ghana forever or leave Ghana immediately. If Ishac Diwan will not shut up we call on President John Mills to order the Professional Ghana Immigration Service to revoke the visa of Ishac Diwan forthwith to transform him into an illegal migrant in Ghana for immediate detention and repatriation back to his employers or country of origin.

We call on President Mills, in the meantime, to make it categorically clear to Ishac Diwan that there is only one Country Director of Ghana. That Country Director of Ghana is the elected President of Ghana. We therefore do not recognise the titles that transnational and multinational organisations are fraudulently conferring on their employees who then develop wings for democratic interference in our national sovereignty.

Our call to President Mills is predicated on the democratic interference of Ishac Diwan and his entire World Bank outfit in Ghana during the democratic dispensation of the 4th Republic.

The World Bank is on record as humiliatingly referring to Ghana as a pupil. They referred to Ghana as a “pupil”, which Ghana cannot be and is not, with various descriptions such as ‘star’ and ‘good’ amongst others. They thus reduced our Sovereign Nation to the status of a “boy” similar to the derogative term that American Racists refer to Black Men as “boys”.

The World Bank in also on record as permanently is praising any Government while it is in office; then proclaiming the existence of reports that denigrate the economic performance of that same government. The criminal aspect of this is the fact that the policies that are the subject of poor freemarket performance were authored and imposed as freemarket conditionality in footnotes and small prints in policy promulgations calculated to subject the political policy of the Ghanaian State to foreign interests.

The World Bank since 1983 promoted freemarket policies of privatisation, budget balancing and the down-sizing of public sector. For over 28 years the World Bank and their fraudulent Country Directors insisted that Ghana’s government policy must be based on a non-interventionist stance and that the macroeconomic goal of low inflation and hence low minimum wages was the way forward. Ghana’s economy we were told must be privatised and if nothing worked in our economy more and not less privatisation were the eternal solution. The wholesale reversal of this policy is actually the case in the countries of the very donors such as USA and UK from which these instructions were coming.

Since 1983, the World Bank has anti-democratically imposed the Washington Consensus on Ghana without any such mandate from the people of Ghana as they worked with the liberal-conservative establishment. Even the Ministry of Finance has been infiltrated with foreigners who have no mandate from Ghanaians to determine policy.

It is in the light of these gross violations of our Sovereignty with the connivance of our liberal-conservative establishment that we note the World Bank painting of a gloomy picture of the Ghanaian economy as a further anti-democratic attempt to illegitimately force their policy view on Ghana. The World Bank’s view is partly reported in the General News of Wednesday, 7 January 2009 on Ghanaweb. We noted in that article that the World Bank “painted a gloomy picture of the Ghanaian economy, saying that the macro-economic situation that the incoming government will inherit is “extremely worrisome”. We are told that Diwan warned that “the incoming administration would inherit high fiscal and balance of payment deficits that were unsustainable given the current state of international financial markets.” Let us all be clear that The Bank of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance of Ghana are not answerable to Ishac Diwan. They are answerable to the People of Ghana through their elected Representatives. Ishac Diwan and the World Bank have no mandate from Ghanaians to have any data provided to them as a basis for them to be issuing foreign mandated policies for Ghana to follow. We are therefore calling on President Mills to order the Bank of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance to stop by Executive Order with immediate effect the practice of providing data to foreign institutions like the World Bank for interferences in sovereign policy formulation and decision-making. Ghana must make it clear to Diwan and the World Bank that we need no tutorials from them on GDP such as “the country would have to spend 14 per cent of its total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to service its fiscal deficit, while the balance of payment deficit would be larger.” It is none of their business. We already know this. So we do not see what he is being paid for to be telling us what we already know but must overcome to better the lives of our people. In all circumstances therefore we further reject the Bank predictions of a “socially painful financial crisis” because majority of Ghanaians who live on less than $2 a day are already living in a socially painful financial crisis as far as debt, income, credit, savings and money management are concerned. The urgent steps that must be taken cannot be dictated to us by World Bank and Diwan: the reduction of any deficit in Ghana must be subject to progressive policies that increase the standard of life Ghanaians. No crisis can be more important than the lives of Ghanaians. And any policy must be subject to their lives – their aspirations.

The economy of Ghana has been in a permanent crisis ever since we can be remember. Nothing is new. The World Bank knew that it was destructively unsustainable for the Ghanaian economy to finance fiscal and current account deficits from the privatisation of assets, leftovers of 2007 issued Eurobonds and foreign reserves. But they advised this very policy; both to the NDC Government (1992-2000) and the NPP Government (2000-2008).

And precisely because they were unsustainable for simple reasons such as the limited quality and quantity of privatisable assets amongst others, these sources would not be available on a sustainable basis. The World Bank knew this. And if they pretend they didn’t, what is their real motive in stationing a director in Ghana. What for?

We are calling on President Mills to reject the World Bank pledge to support the new Government of Ghana (2008-2012). They will do no such thing. They will do what they fraudulently did to previous NDC and NPP Governments. We are calling on President Mills to reject the World Bank goals of “among other things, address the macro-economic imbalances, attain macro stability and protect the poor and the vulnerable in Ghana” as fraudulently deceptive. High fiscal deficits financed by tax are not compatible with high savings, very low interest rates and sustainable low inflation in a depression. And the lives of Ghanaians have been in a depression for as long as we can remember. And so when it comes to choosing between macro-stability and the vulnerable and poor Ghanaian Majority, the World Bank will choose as they have always chosen macro-stability. Macro-stability for the World Bank means resolving the struggle over Ghana’s resources in the interest of Foreigners who control the World Bank. The World Bank which employs Ishac Diwan will never be on the side of the Ghanaian Majority. It is the same for the IMF.

We call on President Mills and the Government of Ghana to note that the level of dependency of the Ghanaian economy on donors and the transnational institution of the World Bank and the IMF is too high for the sustenance of national sovereignty. We must therefore have the courage to reject generous IDA allocations calculated to effect a freemarket ponzi scheme for the economic upliftment of a privileged conservative few under NPP and a liberal minority under NDC. These and other such funding portfolios only help the “front-load” for Elitist urgent use but do nothing to create a sustainable funding basis for a sustainable fiscal and credit account deficits in a progressive developing highly industrialised and prosperous economy.

We draw the attention of Ishac Diwan and the World Bank that we are not impressed by their development of any fast-track procedures to support Ghana as a result of been hit by the international financial crisis that was the creation of Western Free Market Anti-African underdevelopment policies championed by the same World Bank. We are not impressed at all.

We call on President Mills to order the World Bank in Ghana to stop interfering in our sovereign income streams whose diversion for foreign interests is their real motive for stationing a country director in Ghana and Africa and handover immediately all analytical work on the effective use of the anticipated revenue from the country’s oil find to Ghanaian analysts in a well-funded and empowered Ghana Statistic Service (GSS) led by Dr Grace Bediako and the National Development Planning Commission.

Ghanaians in these two national outfits have the capacity if enabled resourcefully to undertake any work on Ghana’s current, future and predicted income streams.