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NDC welcomes IMF support... but calls for change in Economic Management Team

BY: Kweku Zurek
Johnson Asiedu Nketiah
Johnson Asiedu Nketiah

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has welcomed the decision of the government to seek economic support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It, however, asked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to overhaul its Economic Management Team (EMT).

The General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, in an interview with the Daily Graphic said the current leaders of the EMT had lost credibility after they, in the past, insisted that seeking IMF assistance was the result of mismanagement of the economy.

"It is the utterances of President Akufo-Addo and his ministers and Vice-President that have created the impression that the IMF is like a monster and anybody who seeks support has been a failure that is why that person is seeking support," Mr Nketiah explained.

"Their utterances have come home to haunt them. With their capitulation now, if you want to defend them, it would be easier to defend the devil at the gate of heaven than to defend President Akufo-Addo on the state of the economy.

"Because they have come out to say they will never go to the IMF but now they have done a 180-degree turn and are chasing the IMF and trying to justify it as if there are two different IMF's; the NDC IMF, if you go there, it is because of mismanagement but the New Patriotic Party (NPP) IMF, if you go there, it is a different ball game," he noted.

Cease comparisons

Mr Nketiah also advised government spokespersons to desist from comparing the state of the Ghanaian economy to that of Western nations and also laying the blame for the economic challenges on COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war.

"We are in the West African sub-region; how many of the countries have gone for an IMF bailout. Are they not affected by the same things we are complaining about?" he quizzed.

He said it was time for the country to look for sustainable solutions for Ghana’s economy and not compare economic indicators such as inflation to that of America, the United Kingdom and Germany.

"We haven't sent any weapons to Ukraine; you have mismanaged the economy and you are looking for excuses. They talk about the Ukraine war and inflation in Europe and America; why won't there be inflation in America when they are financing Ukraine in the war and Germany is coping with a power crisis because of its reliance on Russian gas. There are more linkages between those countries than Ghana, so why are we at the IMF?" he asked.

Trust

Mr Nketiah said the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta and the Chairman of the EMT, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia, had displayed an inability to manage the economy and in the process lost the trust of citizens.

He further urged the government to seek-out Ghanaians with hands-on experience of managing the economy to take charge of those roles.

"We need somebody with practical hands-on experience of handling such crises not someone who will be quoting textbooks because in economics you are told that 'all things being equal' but all things are never equal in the real world," Mr Nketiah said.

"They have demonstrated failure in managing the economy, They cannot lead Ghana in this IMF engagements because managing an economy relies on trust and these persons have lost that trust because of their pronouncements on the IMF and the economy in the past.

"The President will help the government and country if he finds another person to manage the Finance Ministry and another person to manage the EMT. Ghanaians with such experience abound and they can find even a technocrat who may not be a politician but can galvanise the confidence of the masses and get all the political actors in government and opposition to look at the issues affecting the economy dispassionately," he stressed.