Officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will commence negotiations with the government today on a possible programme to support Ghana’s homegrown economic policies.
The IMF team – led by the Mission Chief for Ghana, Carlo Sdralevich – will have in-person meetings with officials of the Finance Ministry, the Economic Management and the Presidency from July 6 to July 13.
Government signaled its intention to seek support from the Fund last week, after several months of saying it will not seek a bailout despite crippling economic conditions.
The IMF lending to Ghana will be for balance of payments support (to shore up the international reserves).
Government is committed to ensuring the smooth operationalisation of all taxes including the e-levy to ensure that in addition to the IMF’s resources, government can continue to support its developmental goals on its own, while ensuring that the tax-to-GDP ratio increases to the peer range of 16%-18%.
An IMF-supported programme is likely to encourage the government to investigate the factors hindering the success of the e-levy by providing technical assistance if needed and come out with strategies to improve it.
Government’s decision to seek economic refuge from the Fund has been received with mixed reactions as some, especially members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), argue it has been long overdue.
Already, there are growing calls for President Akufo-Addo to sack the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, for a new face to lead the IMF discussions.
Former President John Mahama in a Facebook post said Mr Ofori-Atta has already lost his credibility, trust and confidence after he supervised “the disastrous collapse of the economy.”
He added that the Finance Minister should not be added to the team of negotiators engaging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for economic support.
But these calls have been rejected by government officials who say the Minister and other government appointees rather need support and assistance to succeed.
Reacting to former President Mahama’s call for the ouster of Ken Ofori-Atta, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party, Gabby Otchere-Darko, said that the Minister has shown creativity and innovation in his management of the economy.
The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, says justifications for Ken Ofori-Atta to step down are neither here nor there.
“If you look at the work that our Finance Minister has led us to do in the past before this pandemic hit us, it will not support that argument that because he was initially of the view that we can do this domestically, he should be fired. I don’t think so,” he said.