March 19, 2023

Former President John Dramani Mahama has taken a swipe at the Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, for attributing Ghana’s prevailing weak economic situation to shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

According to Mr Mahama, the assertion by the IMF boss ignores the basic facts underpinning Ghana’s economic challenges, which he cites to be mismanagement on the part of the Akufo-Addo-led government.

“While the norm in international diplomacy of being guarded in what one says is appreciated, comments by high-ranking officials must be grounded on facts that take into consideration local realities and opinions.

“The incontrovertible fact is that Ghana is in a mess due to the bad policies of this government, which have contributed massively to the dire state of affairs,” the former president wrote in a Facebook post sighted by GhanaWeb.

While listing some of the things he said are the actions of the government causing the current challenges, Mr Mahama noted that the IMF chief might have set herself up for making a wrong diagnosis.

“International diplomats must consider these facts and not just ignore them; lest they make wrong diagnoses and prescribe inappropriate remedies.

“The consequences of the government’s ill-adviced policies such as the botched, insensitive and dubious cost in closing down locally owned banks, unbridled levels of corruption and lack of accountability including the mismanagement of COVID-19 funds, unconventional borrowing practices riddled with opaqueness and conflicts of interest, resulting in an unsustainable debt envelope, costly, experimental and untested programmes, etc., cannot be ignored in understanding the current dire state of the Ghanaian Economy.

“Therefore, the rhetoric that emanates from international diplomats must reflect local realities. The Ghanaian economy must be managed first for the Ghanaian who lives and experiences it daily, not just for an international audience,” he wrote.

Ghana is seeking to raise some $3bn balance of payment IMF support programme to help resolve some of its immediate economic challenges.

The government began discussions with the Bretton Wood Institution in July 2022, reversing President Akufo-Addo’s pledge not to seek a financial programme from the IMF.

There has been a local split in opinion on what accounts for Ghana’s current economic challenges, with the government blaming the impact of COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Critics, including the opposition, are blaming government inefficiencies for the economic situation.

Speaking to Norvan Reports at the Africa Climate Change Adaptation Summit, Kristalina Georgieva said shocks from the two unforeseen factors have heavily impacted the economy and are to be blamed for the country’s woes and not “bad policies” said to be implemented by the government.

“Like everybody on this planet, you have been hurt by exogenous shocks. First, the pandemic, then Russia-Ukraine. And then we need to realise is not because of bad policies in the country, but because of this combination of shocks,” she added.

The IMF Director added that Ghana, as a strong country in the sub-region, ought to be supported by the IMF to bounce back because the strength of Ghana impacts positively on neighbouring countries.

“And therefore, we have to support (Ghana) because you’re a member. You’re a strong country, you have fantastic people, but also we have to support Ghana because your strength contributes to the strength of your neighbours. It contributes to a stronger world,” she stated.

Speaking further on the anticipated deal with Ghana, she noted the IMF is determined to have an agreement with Ghana by the end of this year.

“I am very determined for us to indeed reach an agreement by the end of this year,” she quipped.

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