I have just finished reading the IMF document and conditionalities and the following are the things we must do to secure our $3 billion support:
1. Achieve a primary surplus of 1.5% of GDP by 2025 through to 2028
2. Deepen Public Financial Management
3. Accelerate energy sector reforms
4. Strengthen State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) competitiveness and efficiency; and integrate all sources of funds, HRMIS, GHANEPS and Payroll systems into the GIFMIS platform
5. Operationalize our Integrated Tax Administration System
6. Expand GIFMIS infrastructure to 265 IGF- reliant institutions with all the available functionalities
7. Structural Reforms to Ensure Cocobod Financial Viability
8. Finalize the audit of COVID-19 spending prepared by the Auditor General; Prepare new guidelines for Emergency Expenditure Management; Strengthen organizational and legal arrangements for addressing corruption and enhancing accountability and integrity; and Continue to implement and update the National Anticorruption Action Plan
9. Complete the comprehensive public debt restructuring operation launched in December 2022
10. Make good faith efforts to reach a collaborative restructuring agreement through engagement in early dialogue, timely sharing of information and giving opportunity for creditors to input on the restructuring strategy
11. Double the level of benefits of the existing targeted cash transfer program, the Living Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP); and Introduce an indexation mechanism of the benefits under LEAP
12. Develop and implement a strategy to engage Ghanaians and all relevant stakeholders in building public awareness and broad support for the policies underpinning the Fund-supported program.
My view on the conditionalities
These are measures that may impose some hardships that ideally should be endured, with the understanding that we must all sacrifice in order to turn things around.
They are measures that we could have implemented ourselves without receiving them as orders from the IMF. A sovereign nation headed by a regime that touts its credentials of having the men should have known and implemented these interventions without waiting for the IMF to tell us what to do.
I have a few concerns which I raise as questions. Was this a truly well-negotiated IMF deal? Does the IMF truly know what is going on in Ghana, particularly on matters of corruption? I ask this because, in Ghana, we are always caught in the quagmire of fetching water with baskets.
Yet, nothing substantial was said to help us check the leakages and slippages. Indeed, in the fight against corruption, the talk about the continuous implementation of a National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) that exists merely in name by the document, shows that the IMF perhaps is no longer a serious institution.
This is because it doesn’t appear there will ever be serious efforts at implementing the NACAP and an IMF that does not know this is bogus.
In all honesty, it appears the IMF of yesteryears, is no longer the IMF we see today. They are no longer bold; they are no longer courageous; and they seem to be tacitly perpetuating a cycle of African dependence on the West.
Otherwise, how and why were very low-hanging serious recommendations that would help us quickly turn things around, overlooked? Is the IMF ignorant that we earn just about only 5% of royalties from our gold? Is the IMF not aware that we produce oil and yet earn only just about 13% of the oil revenues?
Why didn’t they talk about taxing the extractive sector adequately to raise more revenue for ourselves? Why were they silent on what we must do to stop illicit financial flows? Do they come from countries whose sizes of government are as bloated as ours? Were they coerced to keep quiet about the local and international calls on our government to downsize?
To my mind, any IMF Conditionality that is unable to answer the questions posed above is a mere propaganda that seeks to inflict hardships on the poor; make Africans dependent on the West; and cover up for leadership incompetence and unwillingness to sacrifice.
Let the government be warned that Labor would resist any unnecessary imposition of hardships on poor people without a palpable show of sacrifice on the part of political leadership.
The IMF must know that the Ghanaian is intelligent enough to know when a cycle of dependence is being perpetuated and we will soon resist.
If the IMF truly wants to help us, then they must be bold in telling us nothing but the truth so we can wiggle ourselves out of imposed and self-inflicted hardships.
An IMF that fails to do this will deepen the derogatory, (but sometimes deserving) PERCEPTION that reduces it to a spineless organization, staffed by cowards, praise singers and fun-fool respecters of failed African leaders.
By Prof Ransford Gyampo
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s stance.