It is, therefore, illogical for anyone to judge the competence and integrity of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia under this circumstances with his statement he made on March 24, 2015.
For the purpose of clarity, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in principle never said that he was against the global role of International Monetary Fund (IMF) as an entity.
The statement of Dr. Bawumia on March 24, 2015 was rather against the reasons why NDC under John Mahama was seeking IMF bailout, as it was avoidable at that period of 2015/2016.
You do not run to IMF simply because of incompetence and inability to solve ‘dumsor’ despite massive borrowing, leading to fiscal indiscipline, and that was precisely what Dr. Bawumia was talking about in March 2015.
Below are the explanations and justifications for the statement made by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on March 24, 2015 against Mahama going to the IMF for bailout:
- “Mr. Chairman, the IMF bailout was totally avoidable if the government had listened to sound advice from many quarters much earlier. But government refused to listen”.
The reasons why John Mahama went to the IMF in 2015 were indeed avoidable if they had listened to sound advice from World Bank, IMF and CSOs on how to effectively handle the ‘dumsor’ crisis, control reckless borrowing for the payment of judgement debts and less profitable projects, leading to fiscal indiscipline.
Mahama’s blatant refusal to listen to sound advice from the quarters of World Bank, IMF, International Credit Ratings and CSOs led to the crippling of the local economy, persistent ‘dumsor’, collapsing of businesses/industries and collapsing banking/financial sector.
However, in 2022, under Akufo-Addo’s government, it is not ‘dumsor’ or reckless borrowing or fiscal indiscipline that is sending Ghana to the IMF. It is rather the adverse impact of COVID-19 and Russia-Ukraine war, and the determination of Akufo-Addo government to protect its flagship policies, including over 2.2 million Ghanaian children who are enjoying Free SHS/TVET.
- “They believed in their own propaganda and said “Yentie Obiaa” (we won’t listen to anyone). When government was cautioned about the scale of borrowing, the government responded that they would borrow more”.
Yes, it was true that when World Bank, IMF and CSOs cautioned Mahama’s administration about the scale of reckless borrowing, they said “Yentie Obiaa”, and they kept borrowing to pay judgement debts, including that of Woyome, and also undertook unprofitable policies such as guinea fowl, SADA project, bus branding, among others, while prudent solutions were still not in place to address ‘dumsor’, which was killing the Ghanaian economy.
Unlike “Yentie Obiaa” Mahama administration in 2015, the Akufo-Addo administration in 2022 has never said that “Yentie Obiaa” in the face of this economic reality caused by the impact of war in Ukraine and COVID-19. The Akufo-Addo administration tried to use homegrown policy like E-Levy to handle the economy without IMF, but the government experienced major setback due to lack of cooperation from some Ghanaians to honour the E-Levy and the usual ‘mafia’ from the NDC Members of Parliament against the E-Levy.
Again, the Akufo-Addo administration tried to utilize an opportunity of US$1 billion syndicated loan from some foreign banks, but NDC Members of Parliament used their numbers to undermine such initiative.
Akufo-Addo’s government thereafter set up a committee, with the membership of Alan Kyerematen, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Daniel Botwe, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah. This committee reviewed, assessed and engaged critical stakeholders on the mitigation measures that were introduced by the government to minimize the impact of the global economic crisis on Ghanaians and report same to Cabinet for the necessary steps to be considered as to whether to go to the IMF or not after the insufficiency of the revenue target of E-Levy.
It is, therefore, illogical for anyone to judge the competence and integrity of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia under this circumstances with his statement he made on March 24, 2015. At the time such statement was made, there was nothing like global economic crisis caused by COVID-19 and Russia-Ukraine War.
- Now that their propaganda has been exposed by economic reality, they are now forced to listen to the IMF. We have moved from “Yentie Obiaa” to “Yebetie IMF Nkoaa” (we will listen to the IMF only). IMF bailout, will the anchor hold?
Yes, it was true that the economic reality in 2015 caused by a local phenomenon of persistent ‘dumsor’ exposed the propaganda of John Mahama’s administration and, truly, John Mahama was forced to listen to only IMF because his administration went to the IMF for bailout without its own economic programme.
IMF rather solely gave a programme and roadmap to John Mahama’s administration to follow to restore fiscal discipline and possibly solve ‘dumsor’. Unfortunately, at the time Mahama was leaving office, regardless of the IMF bailout, he failed to meet the expectations of IMF. At end of December 2016, under John Mahama, ‘dumsor’ was still not solved. Inflation rate could not come down, and fiscal discipline was not restored.
Is that the case of Akufo-Addo’s government in 2022? Certainly not! Akufo-Addo’s administration, since 2017, has not run the economy of Ghana with propaganda. The economic reality of Ghana in 2022 is different from the economic reality of Ghana in 2015/2016.
The economic realities of Ghana in 2022 are not caused by mismanagement, reckless borrowing and fiscal indiscipline. World Bank, IMF and Credit Rating Agencies have all affirmed the narrative of the impact of global COVID-19 and Russia-Ukraine War. Is Akufo-Addo’s government only listening to the IMF? Certainly not!
In order to quicken the economic recovery of Ghana, Akufo-Addo’s government may still rely on its homegrown policy such as E-Levy to complement the support from the IMF.
Akufo-Addo’s government is also going to the IMF with its own ‘Economic Programme’, unlike John Mahama who went to IMF without an economic programme.
Therefore, the equalization of incompetence tag that John Mahama and NDC are desperately seeking to have with Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia because of his 2015 statement has completely fallen down flat.
John Mahama going to the IMF in 2015 was completely avoidable, if they had earlier listened to sound advice from World Bank, IMF, among others.
Akufo-Addo going to the IMF in 2022 is completely unavoidable due to the late passage and implementation of E-Levy caused by the resistance of John Mahama and NDC Members of Parliament.