Contrary to claims that Ghana is worse off despite the consistent support it receives from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) anytime it faces an economic meltdown, IMF’s Resident Representative for Ghana, Dr. Albert Touna Mama, believes otherwise.
“I’m not sure that this country has stagnated for 16 years. I’m not necessarily arguing that the fund is the reason for the growth, but it didn’t harm that growth [either]. The Fund is here for a reason, and it is especially for situations like the one you are in now where countries because of COVID-19 face very difficult prospect at least from the fiscal side,” he said on Monday’s edition of The Point of View on Citi TV.
The relationship between Ghana and the IMF and World Bank dates back to the late 1960s.
Data shows that the country has gone for support from the Bretton Woods institution about 16 times.
Some economists have admonished Ghana to take steps to wean itself from the international body.
For instance, Finance and Economics Lecturer, Professor Godfred Bokpin, in a recent interview on Joy News said: “Any decision to go to the IMF must be thoroughly interrogated. We’ve been to the fund 16 times; what do we have to show for? What shows that the 17th time will deliver a different outcome on a more sustainable basis?”
But the IMF’s Resident Representative says it is unfair for anyone to suggest that Ghana has nothing to show for its many programmes with the IMF.
According to him, the country cannot be said to have stagnated throughout its various programmes with the IMF as the fund has only been working consistently to help countries in terms of finances to deal with specific problems.
“It is rooted in the misconception about what our role is. It is unfortunate because it corners policymakers into not thinking about a very viable option. It is very unfair to say Ghana has nothing to show for having existing programmes,” Dr. Touna Mama argued.
He said the IMF continues to offer cheaper financing to many countries and remains a viable option for fiscal support.
While acknowledging that the IMF does not tell countries what to do, he said it has strict prerequisites that include the country’s macro-economic status.
“We don’t pretend to come and solve everything, but the social spending is critical. Our function is not to decide where to invest and how to make the country grow,” he stressed.