There are times decisions have to be made for survival – Ofori-Atta justifies going to IMF

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta
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Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has justified the decision by the government to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He said there are times like this that decisions have to be made for survival hence the decision to head to the Fund.

Mr Ofori-Atta received flak after the government announced that it was seeking a programme under the Fund.

Prior to that announcement, he had said on several occasions that the government would not go to the IMF for support because programmes had been introduced by the government to tackle the problems.

Some of his critics especially from the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) called for his resignation.

However, answering questions from the media at the Accra Sports Stadium where the New Patriotic Party (NPP) are having their delegates conference on Saturday July 16, he said “It is almost like telling a father to resign from his children because he has changed his mind. There are times that decisions have to be made for the survival of the country and therefore, if such circumstances such as Covid or Ukraine war occur which are not typical, it does change the environment.”

The government announced on Friday July 1 that it was heading to the Fund for support. Accordingly, the IMF team, led by Carlo Sdralevich arrived into the country on July 6, to meet government officials. The team concluded its visit on Wednesday July 13.

They met with Vice President Dr Mahamudu BawumiaFinance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, and Governor Ernest Addison of the Bank of Ghana.

They also met with the Parliament’s Finance Committee, civil society organizations, and development partners, including UNICEF and the World Bank to engage on social spending.

At the conclusion of the mission, Mr. Sdralevich issued the following statement said “Ghana is facing a challenging economic and social situation amid an increasingly difficult global environment. The fiscal and debt situation has severely worsened following the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, investors’ concerns have triggered credit rating downgrades, capital outflows, loss of external market access, and rising domestic borrowing costs.

“In addition, the global economic shock caused by the war in Ukraine is hitting Ghana at a time when the country is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic shock and with limited room for maneuver. These adverse developments have contributed to slowing economic growth, accumulation of unpaid bills, a large exchange rate depreciation, and a surge in inflation.

“The IMF team held initial discussions on a comprehensive reform package to restore macroeconomic stability and anchor debt sustainability. The team made progress in assessing the economic situation and identifying policy priorities in the near term. The discussions focused on improving fiscal balances in a sustainable way while protecting the vulnerable and poor; ensuring credibility of the monetary policy and exchange rate regimes; preserving financial sector stability; and designing reforms to enhance growth, create jobs, and strengthen governance.

“IMF staff will continue to monitor the economic and social situation closely and engage in the coming weeks with the authorities on the formulation of their Enhanced Domestic Program that could be supported by an IMF arrangement and with broad stakeholders’ consultation

“We reaffirm our commitment to support Ghana at this difficult time, consistent with the IMF’s policies.

“Staff express their gratitude to the authorities, civil society, and development partners for their constructive engagement and support during the mission.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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