IMF return necessary pill – Gideon Boako
Dr. Gideon Boako, the Economic Adviser and spokesperson to the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has described the government’s decision to seek the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to fix the country’s debilitating economic situation as a necessary “bitter pill”.
Speaking at the GRASSAG Week Celebration at the University of Energy and Natural Resources on Thursday, 08 September 2022, in Sunyani themed: “The Role of Postgraduate Students in Government’s Economic Recovery Program Post Covid-19”, Dr. Boako acknowledged that the country is in difficult times on the back of the global crisis but the record of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) “shows that we are the government that makes the best in difficult situations.”
“The opposition NDC would want us to believe that the difficulties imposed on us as a country because of the global crisis and government’s decision to take the bitter pill of seeking for an IMF support to help us address the crisis-driven difficulties we are experiencing means we are failing. But I want to remind them that if they couldn’t have the competence to deliver under their own IMF programme we will deliver,” he added.
He said the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the NPP took over the mantle of leadership from the NDC and inherited the NDC’s IMF programme under extreme economic challenges.
“We did not run away from the problem. We took the bull by the horns and demonstrated that we have the competence and commitment to turn difficult situations into prosperity. And with determination and hardwork we turned things around from 2017 to first quarter of 2019 under the IMF programme until Covid-19 struck us,” he said.
“Challenges and difficult situations are bound to happen in every facet of our national development journey but it takes competence and true political commitment to win the battle. We are a government of doers. We have done it before and we will certainly do it this time around,” he added.
COVID-19 exposed systematic weaknesses
That notwithstanding, Dr. Boako bemoaned how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed some of the systematic weaknesses of the Ghanaian economic architecture which he said “taught us the need to build an economy that can withstand external shock.”
“…our continued reliance on imported goods for consumptions is not sustainable in the long term; the slow pace of our movement to mechanised agriculture presents huge challenges; the inability of the informal sector to formalise its business activities to mention a few, are all significant gaps that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency,” he said.
He said the country’s ability to respond to the aforementioned challenges will go a long way in helping build vibrant economy capable of withstanding external shocks such as COVID-19.
Appreciating the catastrophic effects of pandemics such as COVID-19 on growing and developing economies such as Ghana’s, Dr. Boako said: “It is very evident that a time such as this requires innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and a rekindling of the Ghanaian spirit of perseverance and a general belief in the can-do spirit of the youth. We need the can-do spirit and the ingenuity of the youth to rise up to the occasion.”
Time to industrialise
Moving forward, Dr. Boako said the bedrock of a strong local economy is industrialisation and that the evidence shows that industrialised countries have higher GDPs as against non-industrial economies. Industrialisation, he argued enhances the employment outcomes for the youth whilst contributing significantly to the GDP of the country through consumption and exports. Again, he noted that in times of external shocks, locally produced goods provide the buffer to sustain national economies, adding value to local supply chains and also improving local revenues.
“During the pandemic, we are all aware how Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) became necessities for survival. We also witnessed how it took local industries a while to respond to demands for these essentials. This affirms the need to expedite our efforts to build local industries responding to the local needs of its citizens,” he stated.