President John Dramani Mahama, has stated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, is the last one for the country.
“Next year is the last year of the IMF programme, and then we will go back to the home grown fiscal policy. We are almost there, and we will finish hard. And I am reiterating that this IMF programme is to end all IMF programmes,” he emphasised.
He was addressing the 10th quadrennial delegates’ congress of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) under the theme, “Building Workers’ Power for Decent Work and National Development,” here, yesterday.
According to the President, the nation has implemented the bulk of the institutional reforms required under the IMF programme with the final one being the new Bank of Ghana (BOG) Amendment Act recently passed by parliament.
The Act, he said, sought to strengthen the autonomy of the central bank to implement monetary policy more effectively by reinforcing the independence of the board and the monetary policy committee and putting clear limit on central bank’s financing of government’s budget.
The President was full of praise for the stakeholders who participated in the Senchi forum which resulted in the Senchi consensus forming the basis of the home grown fiscal policy which “is currently the basis for the extended credit facility the nation is implementing in partnership with the IMF”.
He noted that the economy had shown a new robustness characterised by stable currency, a rapidly declining deficit, a slowdown in the growth of debt due to the new public debt management strategies and a reducing rate of inflation, stressing “the fiscal policy we are implementing under the extended credit facility is to reduce inflation.”
President Mahama indicated that Ghana’s economy became inextricably integrated with the world economy when she issued her first Eurobond some years back and “we are therefore, not immune to development on the world economic scene, yet despite world economic downturn our commitment to exercise prudence in budgetary expenditure has kept our economy on the path of growth.”
On the demand to pay interim premium, the President indicated that “acceding to the demand will throw completely off track and make nonsense of the sacrifices we have made together throughout last year.”
But, he gave the assurance that government’s intention is to implement a comprehensive policy on payment of policy starting from next year, adding that he has asked the employment ministry to enter into an MoU with CLOGSAG to this effect.
He touched on a new millennium compact which would see the nation injecting about 500 million dollars into the power sector which had proven to be an Achilles heel in the quest for accelerated economic growth.
He explained that under the agreement there would be an improvement in generation and distribution of power over the next five years, and assured that there would be no retrenchment in the Electricity Company of Ghana.
The TUC’s Secretary General, Kofi Asamoah called on government to abandon the IMF programme saying, “IMF programmes has not worked anywhere and will not work in Ghana.”
According to Mr. Asamoah, Ghanaians were getting poorer with the IMF programme and the President “must do something before he dies.”
From Kingsley E. Hope, Kumasi