Even though it is not his wish, former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, has hinted at the possibility of Ghana running to the International Monetary Fund for assistance in the short term.
Mr Terkper was of the view that if the current government fails to maintain fiscal discipline in the lead-up to the 2020 elections and also does not honour its debt obligations, Ghana could be seeking IMF help – again.
“We could, if what some of us are saying, like offsets of arrears and the rest and others are real, and I hope that there is a clarification that they are not real, then all of us can [relax] but if we continue despite the additional oil revenues and the others, we could be there,” Mr Terkper said in response to a question by Benjamin Akakpo, host of Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show.
Answering a question about whether Ghana was economically sound after the country’s exit from the IMF programme, Mr Terkper, who was a guest on the show on Tuesday, 25 June 2019, explained that if, “despite the additional oil revenues we are not paying down debts and others, we could be forced there because what forces you into the Fund? Sometimes it is not your willingness to go but because going to the market has become tough”.
Ghana exited the programme in April 2019 after an initial three-year arrangement which was approved on 3 April 2015 was extended for an additional year on 30 August 2017.
Ghana got US$925.9 million from the IMF during the four-year programme.
In March this year, however, President Akufo-Addo said 16 IMF bailouts was senseless and hinted that the last one was going to be just that – the last one.
Addressing the World Bank Vice-President for Africa, Dr Hafez Ghanem at the Jubilee House when he paid a courtesy call on him, Mr Akufo-Addo said Ghana has had sixteen bailouts with the IMF since her independence in 1957 and it has been so largely because of indiscipline on the side of those vested with the power to manage the economy.
“We have had sixteen bailouts programmes with the IMF since independence. It doesn’t make sense, largely because the discipline that we should have in the management of our public expenditure and the management of our public finances has not been there,” the President said.
Mr Akufo-Addo said the focus of the energies of his administration is to ensure total discipline in the management of the economy.
“We think that we can do it. We are thirty million people here with considerable resources in their natural form, and if we have the policy framework and the policy options that we take are once that favour this process, we are looking at being within a decade, able to fashion a new self-sustaining economy, this is the economy we want to call the “Ghana Beyond Aid”, the President said.