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Government’s declaration of its intention to officially engage the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout on the country’s Republic Day anniversary has exposed vice president Dr Mahmoud Bawumia to public ridicule as his previous utterances about his predecessor’s engagement with the Washington based institution come back to haunt him.
The government, through a statement issued by the Information Ministry, ” has authorized the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to commence formal engagements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), inviting the Fund to support an economic program put together by the Government of Ghana “, the statement signed by the Information Minister confirms. Many economists and financial experts believe the government should have reached out to the Fund two or three years earlier to lessen the adverse Balance of Payment situation of the country. The government is reported to have faced a shortfall with its revenue mobilizing baskets, especially through taxations. The reports of a substantial shortfall in the revenue mobilization target from the recently introduced electronic levy (E-levy) coupled with government’s profligate expenditures and high levels of corruption are attributable to the nation’s economic woes, hence the resort to the IMF for prudence and discipline to be injected into the management of the economy.
Following the announcement of a return to the IMF, Ghanaians have taken to mainstream and social media to mock the vice president who’s the head of the government’s Economic Management Team (EMT), by playing back his own words against Government-IMF engagement while in opposition. Dr. Bawumia led the onslaught on the Mahama-Amissah Arthur administration when they opted for a similar arrangement with the Fund in 2015, labelling the former president “incompetent and lazy” for reaching out to the institution for support for its home-grown policies. According to him, a call to the IMF is as a result of mismanagement and ineptitude on part the managers of the economy.
In one of his Distinguished Speaker Series, the “economic wizkid ” as he was affectionately called by his wife chastised the Mahama government saying “the IMF bailout was totally avoidable if the government had listened to sound advice from many quarters much earlier”…when government was cautioned about the scale of borrowing, the government responded that they would borrow more. Now their propaganda has been exposed by economic reality, they are now forced to listen to the IMF” Dr. Bawumia taunted at a lecture delivered in 2015 when he treated the then government contemptuously to the applause from his party’s supporters, students and dignitaries assembled. The president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo also joined in the gallery of attack on the NDC government asking for support from the institution. To him, an oil-producing Ghana should never seek for a bailout from IMF as that would be a sign of incompetence on part of the leaders of the country.
Ghana has contacted the IMF for a financial package on seventeen (17) occasions under previous governments in the country’s history for fiscal discipline- stabilize the currency, improve Balance of Payments and ensure prudent spending by government. The latest IMF reunion will aim to achieve similar targets.