March 19, 2023

A leading member of the governing New Patriotic Party(NPP), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has suggested that Ghana is going to the IMF because Parliament frustrated government’s efforts to pass policies to salvage the economy.

President Akufo-Addo on July 1 ordered Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to begin formal engagements with the IMF.

In a statement signed by Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the engagement will be to invite the Fund to support an economic program put together by government.

“The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has authorised Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to commence formal engagements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), inviting the Fund to Support an economic program put together by the Government of Ghana,” the statement said.

Among other things, the government says the IMF support will provide “balance of payment support as part of a broader effort to quicken Ghana’s build back in the face of challenges induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, and recently, the Russia-Ukraine crisis.”

Gabby Otchere-Darko speaking in an interview on Joy Newsfile programme, Saturday, laid the blame at the doorsteps of Parliament saying had they not delayed in passing the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy), government would not have been forced to run to the Fund.

“There were challenges; yes, government came with its policies to see how to address those challenges and those policies were frustrated by the very Parliament that we have. Yes, we are in a difficulty but if you are government and don’t intend to go to the IMF but you are put in a situation where your avenues for raising revenue are being closed – whether through parliamentary action or by public rejection – then you have to tackle it,” Gabby Otchere-Darko said.

“Government brings a programme to parliament you fight against it . . . when it takes you six months to pass a policy, and it’s a policy of taxation, what happens? It’s easy for the opposition to lash around it and then build public sentiment against it because this tax would have affected a lot of people but then that’s the only way.

“I think when you have an opposition party which believes that nothing matters than political capitalisation of situations and can go out to the public and say that ‘yes, praise us because we stopped the government from getting its way in raising revenue to solve the situation and the problems facing the ordinary Ghanaian,’ then I think those are the things we need to focus on,” he said.

He, however, believes “we need to have a national conversation” going forward.

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