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We’ll not resort to reckless borrowing — President

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem
 Ms Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde
Ms Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on monday assured the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Ghana would not engage in reckless borrowing and economic indiscipline that created the situation where the country had to resort to a bail out from the fund in the past.

He said the government would continue with the prudent economic management, adding that a fiscal rule was being worked on to outlaw any attempt to generate fiscal deficit in excess of five per cent in each year, while a fiscal responsibility advisory council would be set up to ensure that the economic gains made so far did not go waste.

The President gave the assurance when the Managing Director of the IMF, Ms Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde, paid a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House yesterday.

Reckless borrowing

He discounted assertions that after the IMF programme, the government would embark on huge borrowing as untrue and assured the fund that he would not allow the country to go back to where the economy was which compelled it to resort to an extended credit facility from the IMF.

“We don’t want to go back; we want to discipline ourselves so that the economy could grow,” he added.

Gains

President Akufo-Addo said discipline in the management of public funds so far pursued by the government had allowed it to reduce the deficit from 9.3 per cent in 2016 to 5.9 per cent in 2017, while it was anticipated that the deficit would reduce further to 4.5 by the end of the year.

Managing director

Ms Lagarde gave Ghana a thumbs up for the concrete usage of technology, ranging from the financial sector, the economy, revenue mobilisation to education to develop the Ghanaian economy.

She explained that digitisation of the economy, especially in the areas of financial accessibility and inclusion, mobile money interoperability, land registration and the eye box (intelligent box) were laudable ideas.

Eye box

The eye box, also known as the intelligent box, is a Ghanaian invention and grown technology for the delivery of premium, curricular-specific educational content for JHS, SHS and non-formal skills training.

Ms Lagarde said she was extremely encouraged about how Ghana had embraced educational infrastructure which was badly needed in order to take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution.

Economy

She explained that the Akufo-Addo administration took over an economy that “was fragile, with all indicators in red, but through massive work, efforts and sacrifices, those indicators were turning in the right direction”.

She assured the President that the fund would continue to offer objective support and advice for the realisation of the vision of sustainable development and help Ghana leverage the successes chalked up in the last two years to avoid waste.

Ms Lagarde said that would be based on Ghana’s political maturity and smart mixture of domestic revenue mobilisation and debt management, so that it could respond to the development demands of the people.

She gave an assurance that Ghana could count on the IMF to point out in detail risks  pertained in the economy, adding: “We will be the ruthless teller because that is the best service we can offer.”