Pres. not in the pocket of IMF

mahamaThe president of policy think tank, IMANI, Franklin Cudjoe, believes that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) did not instigate President Mahama’s comment on the striking doctors’ issue.

President John Mahama had told the striking doctors he would not authorise the payment of any money outside government’s budget for the year.

He argued that it was to help government fiscal discipline move.

Many have attributed the President’s comment to pressure from IMF which wants government to stay within spending limits as required by the current bailout programme.

But Mr. Cudjoe downplayed the IMF’s interference, saying it was not because of the strict surveillance of government’s budget.

Mr. Cudjoe in an interview, stated that the problems to overstretch government budget with demands from organised labour would not be so “if we had a culture of spending within our budget lines.”

He said: “What the President said is the smartest thing to say. Ordinarily, by suggesting that I am, not going to spend a dime outside this budget is the mark of a very strong leader. If we had been doing these all this while, we wouldn’t have to get here, so whether the IMF is saying it or not that should have been the norm. Having said so, however, it doesn’t mean that when demands are made we should also pooh-pooh the demands.”

Mr. Cudjoe lauded the president’s comments as pragmatic but questioned the payment scales of government workers as against the work they did, suggesting a lack of meritocracy.

He stated: “I am saying that the president’s speech was pragmatic to an extent. But saying the honest thing that he cannot pay outside the budget, but at the same time saying that the issue of meritocracy unfortunately has been given to the dogs, and we need to come back to that conversation.”

The country has in the past few weeks experienced a series of strikes especially in the health sector.

Some of them include, public sector medical doctors, the Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA), University Teachers and, until recently, the state attorneys and psychiatric nurses who had called off their strike.

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