An economist, Prof Godfred Bokpin, is casting doubt on the ability of the government to restore Ghana’s economy to a sound footing through the implementation of the IMF programme.
This follows an admission by President Akufo-Addo that the bailout does not mean an immediate end to current difficulties.
In a national address on Sunday, the President said the approval rather represents a positive step toward putting the country back on track.
“Access to the IMF facility will not expel the immediate end of the difficulties we are in presently. But the fact that we’ve been able to negotiate such a deal, sends a positive message to our trading partners, creditors and investors.
“A positive message that will be underpinned by the discipline, hard work, and enterprise with which we execute the programme. It should lead to the restoration of confidence and the reopening of avenues that have been closed to us this past year and a half. It should also lead to the resumption of many infrastructure projects that have stalled,” he said.
But Prof Bokpin is not optimistic when it comes to the government’s capacity to put the country’s economy back on track.
He argues that, unlike the Covid-19 pandemic which brought together experts from across the country, the current economic crisis is being handled by only government and its official, hence a high probability that when it comes to the Akufo-Addo-led administration failing
“When it came to Covid, you could see that the team of experts government mobilized cut across the broader society and therefore the issue of politics and the rest of them probably became a bit mute. You had the best of Ghana’s scientists from the Noguchi Memorial Institute at the University of Ghana, you can’t get it better than that.
“In a certain broad-based inclusive way. I didn’t get the impression that the economy matters that much like covid and that is unfortunate because we needed to declare war on our economic situation and we needed to tap into the expertise of every Ghanaian regardless of their political affiliation across the best institutions in this country, ” he explained.
Touching on the speech by the President, Professor Bokpin said he did not hear “what I wanted to hear. I didn’t get the impression that there was some level of remorse.
“I didn’t get the impression that there was a sense of urgency that Ghana needed to tackle its economic crisis in the same way that we approached Covid.
“That didn’t come out clearly and you could see that in the case of the economy it showed why government responded so late and in the case of Covid it also showed why if you rely on experts regardless of political affiliations you are likely to make better and informed judgement.”
The first $600 million of the $3 billion IMF Extended Credit Facility (ECF) has been received by the Bank of Ghana.
The funds will be used for the balance of payment and budget support, as well as to stabilize the foreign exchange rate and control inflation.
Another tranche of funds is expected to be disbursed by June 2023 when IMF Mission will visit Ghana to review the country’s program considerations. Another review is scheduled for December 2023 before the final disbursement.