Ghana: Let’s avoid IMF borrowing (2)

sethAs the primary founder and financier of the two institutions, the US wanted badly as a prize the more powerful IMF, the instrument for structural adjustments dominated by the American dollar. But the whirlwind of a spy scandal which roiled up its top delegates to the Bretton Woods conference blew and settled them unhappily at the World Bank.

Meanwhile, the Marshall Plan, which was nothing more than the postwar reconstruction of Europe, had watered down the power of the IMF. So, when Camille Gutt of Belgium, the first head of the IMF, departed in 1951, though the US was powerful enough to have taken it back, America was no more interested. That is the reason why the US was and still is stuck with the WB.

To show clearly how the IMF damages poor countries, here goes a hypothetical example:

I have now learnt that coconut oil has many nutrients, qualities and benefits. Among others, it softens the skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking. It prevents wrinkles, skin aging and, age spots. It reduces symptoms associated with eczema and skin inflammation. When applied topically, it helps to form a chemical barrier to the skin to ward off infections. Coconut oil effectively controls human hair development, and a luxuriant hair can be an important contributor to a woman’s emotional wellness. It also reduces dandruff.

Europeans and Americans have Virgin Olive oil which they have touted as the best cooking oil in the world, and for that matter, demand is very high. That means money and employment for their people.

If consumers get to know the properties of coconut oil, they may switch from olive oil. That means loss of jobs and money for Europe and America because, if the oil does not sell, inventory will pile up to trigger off unemployment as the workers will have to be laid off.

To avoid this, the IMF will deceive you by first flattering you to psyche you up: “Oh, yes, Ghana has achieved strong economic growth over the past two decades!” They will say this even when they know we are struggling. “Ghana has outperformed regional peers at reducing poverty and improved social indicators.”

After getting your ears, they will tactfully and ruefully advise you to buy olive oil instead of your coconut oil because the latter contains too much cholesterol – something untrue.

Because of the health hazard, you may switch to olive oil and thank the IMF for “saving” your life! The motive here is not to help you; rather, they are thinking of the market (their economy). If you switch to olive oil, Europe wins and you lose!

In the early ‘90s, one of the Asian tigers (either Malaysia or Thailand) approached the IMF for loans. The IMF will never give you the money without conditionalities that will hurt you in the long-term. Aware of IMF’s history of diabolical machinations, the applicant took the loans and accepted the conditionalities, all right. But back home, they put the conditionalities on the back burner and used their own home-grown “Senchi Consensus”, which worked for them efficiently and effectively.

If they had not been that smart and had used the IMF prescriptions, 15 years down the road, they would have had to go back to the IMF to be handed more of the same conditionalities that would get them hooked up in the loop – going to the IMF from time to time only to get swindled.

When I was a kid, I was made to understand that first fool is not a fool. Second fool is not a fool. But the third fool is a fool. Ghana has gone to the IMF more than three times and today, we are there again. Just what is the matter with us? When are we going to learn?

So, you are at a loss and you do not know how to handle your economy? You are unwilling and unable to implement a home-grown fiscal discipline regime, the alternative being to have one imposed from outside, including the IMF? This, you believe, will enable you to unlock much-needed donor support for the economy? I will give you premium advice for free.

Reduce the huge budget deficit because a debt to GNP ratio of 54 per cent is not sustainable. Minimize inflation. Don’t freeze wages or lay-off workers for them to suffer; rather, weed out the 35 per cent of “ghost” names on your public sector wage bill. Tell Arch-bishop Duncan Williams to stop praying for and commanding the cedi not to fall; instead, set the macro-economic parameters right.

Add value to your raw materials to create employment for the Association of Unemployed Graduates so as to stop paying lip-service to the development of agric. Revamp the railway lines. Hands-off forex accounts because account holders will keep their money offshore. In that event, who loses? And yes, minimize corruption!

You have cocoa trees that give you beans. Don’t just export the beans; add value to it. You export the beans to Europe and America who add value to it by converting them into milo, etc. That gives them jobs and you have unemployment running through the roof.

Latest statistics have it that the nation produced 19,500 college graduates last year. Out of this number, only 410 found employment!It is this high unemployment situation that spawned the Unemployment Graduate Association of Ghana with current membership of some 24,167.

Until CHRAG boss, LaurettaLamptey, got into the news, I knew of only one female at the GNPC, whom I thought was too extravagant. Even that, it was thanks to Kennedy Agyapong, the anti-corruption firebrand, that I got to know it. Mr. Agyapong is a real hero! It is this same bold true-son-of-Ghana, who made noise about Wayome’s case, arguing with him on the radio and calling him “thief”!

When the “thief” barked that he would sue him for defamation, Mr. Agyapong jeered, daring him: “Go ahead, if you are not afraid! If you do not sue me, then what I am saying to you here is the truth.” (Ken, are you there? Please email me.)

Last year, according to Kennedy Agyapong, that GNPC woman was making $25,000 a month! That was the monthly salary of the president of the richest country on the planet. In fact, Barack Obama was making slightly less than that amount at that time. If that woman did not fix her own salary, then where is the fiscal discipline that can partly save this country?

If we are able to check corruption, Ghana can partly bounce back economically. Yet since the Whistleblower Act was passed in 2006 to encourage the citizens to expose acts of corruption in the society, less than 10 people have reported such acts to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative justice for action.

Anti-corruption campaigners say that their research shows that people are unwilling to report such matters because they do not think that it would have any effect. Ghana has many good laws in the books; yet, woefully, they are not applied.

So, how does Africa come out of the hole to rebuild its destroyed institutions so as to start all over in order to develop like the white race? It will never happen, because that is a long arduous uphill task.

By Rodger Agyin

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