NPP’s IMF return: Mahama, Kennedy among winners; NPP, Bawumia losers
When Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah made an appearance on the Thursday, June 28, 2022, Good Evening Ghana program, he was asked a question on if the political backlash was the stumbling block between Ghana and a return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Oppong Nkrumah who gave no indication that government was going to run to the IMF for an economic recovery program admitted that government was not unaware of the possible impact it could have on the NPP’s electoral chances but that will not prevent them from activating that clause if need be.
Less than 24 hours after he made that statement, a statement from the presidency directing the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to initiate processes with the IMF for an economic program made its way to the media.
Much as the program is purely an economic, there still would be political implications, largely owing to statements from leading government officials including the president and vice.
With the return to the IMF set to be a major tool for campaign for the 2024 elections, GhanaWeb looks at those who will benefit and suffer politically for Ghana’s decision to return to the programme.
Of the four leading candidates for the NPP’s presidential primaries, Kennedy Agyapong is the only one who is not a member of the Economic Management team.
Unlike, Bawumia, Alan Kyerematen and Akoto Afriyie, Kennedy Agyapong’s only role in the executive arm of government is his appointment as Board Chair of Ghana Gas.
It is therefore not surprising that he was the first senior member of the party to comment openly on the IMF program and he minced no words in criticizing his government.
With Bawumia being viewed as an architect of this economic meltdown and Alan Kyerematen unable to excuse himself from the mess, Kennedy Agyapong’s chances could be boosted with the return to the IMF.
Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah
To most people in the NPP, but for factions and blind loyalty, the former chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament would have been the Finance Minister.
Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah, according to reports, belongs to the Alan camp hence the decision not to hand him the role.
In February this year, he came under attack from some NPP members for rubbishing the E-Levy projections and charging government to go to the IMF.
“Without a doubt, I think we should be placing a call to Washington if we haven’t really done that. We are just not going to ask for the funds just because E-levy has been passed or not. E-levy will just bring about GH¢5 billion. We are in a deep hole of our tax revenue and facing difficulties, so going to the Fund will give us some support.
“So there is nothing wrong with going to the Fund. Ghana is a member of the IMF so what is wrong going to ask for support when we are in difficulties to go and pool resources. If I was the finance minister, I will be convincing the President that it is about time we went back,” Dr Assibey stated.
John Dramani Mahama may not relish the hardship in the country but he most certainly would be licking his lips at the latest move by government.
If the dumsor of his era won the NPP the elections in 2016, the IMF return could bring him back in 2024.
It therefore comes as no shock that for months, people within the NDC and John Mahama have drummed home the IMF return as the only panacea to the current challenges.
In an address that came barely 24 hours before the government announced its decision to return to the IMF, John Mahama emphasized the need for government to seek help from the Britton Wood institution.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
Regardless of the reasons he and his government may want Ghanaians to believe as the basis for the country’s return to the IMF, President Akufo-Addo would have his legacy tainted with ‘the president who ‘run the economy into a ditch’ and went back to the IMF on a program he spoke against, vehemently.
Free SHS, IDIF and other programs may earn his administration some positive review and he will always be remembered as the human rights activist who engineered the Kume Preko demonstration, but his legacy would be the president who oversaw conditions similar or to some extent worse than the ones he spoke against.
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia
The success or otherwise of this government especially in the second term was always going to be a determining factor in Bawumia’s political career.
Unlike Alan Kyerematen, Kennedy Agyapong and other prospective presidential candidates who have room for excuses, Bawumia is neck-deep in the mess and cannot extricate himself from it.
He is the leader of the team that manages the economy, he is the ‘Walewale Adam Smith’ whose charm was going to turnaround the fortunes of the economy, instead the economic bar has been lowered further under his watch.
The New Patriotic Party
The NPP now have an uphill task of achieving the ‘Break the 8’ agenda. Regardless of who leads the party in the 2024 elections, it will take an effort of humongous proportion to convince Ghanaians of another chance to lead the country after all that has happened.
Whereas the party and the government still have some years to turn things around, there is little to invoke confidence with IMF coming with its own budget-cutting conditions.
Whoever gets the nod to lead the party will have to show why after the persistent fuel hikes, ever-increasing transport fares and IMF return, Ghanaians should trust him and the party again.
The National Cathedral
Unless there is a change in funding source, the Cathedral will suffer as the IMF will most likely restrict the government expenditure on projects or policies it does not view to be priority.
Based on the leaks provided by Okudzeto Ablakwa, the major funding source for the $250million project is the government and once IMF comes in, there is the likelihood that funds to the project will be cut.