A member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Razak Kojo Opoku, has chided the various Britton wood institutions including the World Bank and asked that they take part of the blame for the current state of Ghana’s economy.
According to the NPP activist, the global bank cannot absolve itself of responsibility having played and implemented harsh economic measures in Africa and Ghana over the past 65 years.
His remarks come in the wake of a disclosure by the Bank’s Country Director to Ghana, Pierre Laporte, that the current economic challenges being experienced cannot be blamed solely on the outbreak of coronavirus in 2019.
The state of the country’s economy has been described in many ways with the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, revealing that Ghana is broke hence the need to pass the controversial electronic transaction levy popularly known as e-levy. The government and its spokespersons had blamed it on the global pandemic.
While Members of Parliament (MPs) especially those on the Minority side continue to reject the levy, the World Bank boss insists that the signs of the economic downturn were clear even before the global pandemic hit.
Mr Laporte explained that “Yes, COVID has not helped but even before COVID, there were signs that the situation was getting a little more challenging”.
According to him, “He [Finance Minister] acknowledges the severity of the situation.” He was speaking at a public lecture organized by the One Ghana Movement. The World Bank also projected harsher times for Ghana’s economy.
“The situation is very difficult right now. Ghana faces a very tough road ahead to restore macro-sustainability,” he said on Tuesday
But in his recent piece, Mr Opoku disagreed largely with the World Bank’s boss view.
He advanced the view that the Akufo-Addo government had largely done its best in the situation it found the economy in 2017 after the John Mahama government exited power.
While admitting that COVID-19 could not be blamed entirely for the current economic challenges, he said “The economic challenges of Ghana and Africa at large have been longtime compounding issues largely due to unfair and biased economic policies by the Western World, international organizations such as World Bank, IMF and global credit ratings with the sole purpose of controlling the resources and undermining the economic and financial freedom of Ghana and the African Countries.
The policies and economic solutions of the World Bank and IMF always turn Ghana, African Countries and Third World into LOANS ADDICT NATIONS. Any attempt to get out of their trap would attract negative ratings and unfair comments from their officials.”
He said between 2017 when the government took office to 2019 before COVID-19 struck, the Akufo-Addo government effectively and efficiently managed the economy by improving the indicators of the economy such as “Bringing down policy rate from 26% to around 13%, 15% inflation rate to around 9-10% etc”.
He said a lot of resources were invested by the government to minimize the spread of galamsey as well as completely save the banking/financial sector which was clean-up by the administration.
In his opinion, the government successfully solved the perennial energy crisis and took Ghana out of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Programme and its conditionalities which hitherto did not allow the government to employ new people for the public sector.
“Alongside solving all the aforementioned problems inherited from John Mahama, Akufo-Addo’s Government also successfully rolled out programmes such as NEIP, 1D1F, Planting for food and jobs, 1 Constituency 1 Ambulance, roads/infrastructure across the country, Free SHS Policy, restoration of allowances for teachers and nursing trainees etc”, he noted.
Read below his full statement unedited
I would like Pierre Laporte to understand that, no government official is saying that COVID-19 is the Sole cause of Ghana’s economic challenges.
The economic challenges of Ghana and Africa at large have been a longtime compounding issues largely due to unfair and bias economic policies by the Western World, international organizations such as World Bank, IMF and global credit ratings with the sole purpose of controlling the resources and undermining the economic and financial freedom of Ghana and the African Countries.
The policies and economic solutions of World Bank and IMF always turn Ghana, African Countries and Third World into LOANS ADDICT NATIONS. Any attempt to get out of their trap would attract negative ratings and unfair comments from their officials.
I honestly don’t think that Mr. Pierre Laporte is super intelligent than anyone here in Ghana. Mr. Pierre Laporte, the World Bank Country Director to Ghana has indicated that COVID-19 pandemic is not the sole cause of the current economic hardship being faced by Ghanaians as some government officials have suggested.
According to Mr. Pierre Laporte, even before COVID-19, there were signs that Ghana’s economy was heading into a trouble due to actions and inactions of the government, and that it would be difficult for government to restore macro-stability as well as avert the current hardship on Ghanaians.
First and foremost, it is important to point out to Mr. Pierre Laporte that his observations are factually incorrect and without any form of merit. Akufo-Addo’s Government inherited poor economic indicators from the NDC coupled with the issues of Galamsey, energy crisis, exchange rate crisis, unemployment due to IMF conditionalities and collapsed banking/financial sector.
Between 2017 and 2019, before the global COVID-19 pandemic, Akufo-Addo’s Government has effectively and efficiently managed the Ghanaian economy by improving the indicators of the economy such as bringing down policy rate from 26% to around 13%, 15% inflation rate to around 9-10% etc.
Also a lot of resources were invested by Akufo-Addo’s Government to minimize the spread of Galamsey as well as completely saved the banking/financial sector. Akufo-Addo’s Government successfully solved the energy crisis and took Ghana out of IMF Programme thereby opening up employment in the public sector which was frozen under the NDC Government.
Alongside solving all the aforementioned problems inherited from John Mahama, Akufo-Addo’s Government also successfully rolled out programmes such as NEIP, 1D1F, Planting for food and jobs, 1 Constituency 1 Ambulance, roads/infrastructure across the country, Free SHS Policy, restoration of allowances for teachers and nursing trainees etc.
All these were successfully ongoing simultaneously until the economy came under stress largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated protocols and restrictions including lockdown and closing of all the borders of the country.
During this period of COVID-19, free food, free electricity and free water were provided by Akufo-Addo’s Government to Ghanaians for several months, a novelty that even Europe, UK, China, USA and other countries couldn’t provide for their citizens.
This strategy by Akufo-Addo’s Government helped to save life of millions of Ghanaians including children and pregnant women.Even before COVID-19 pandemic, the almighty USA, UK, China and other developed countries were struggling with the management of their respective economies.
However, the COVID-19 makes matters worse than before affecting the economy of every country including the developed countries. Akufo-Addo’s Government decision to preach and adopt “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda seems to pose a very serious threat to the World Bank and IMF usual influences and hijacking of the economic sovereignty of Ghana since independence, and this has pushed the representatives of World Bank and IMF to Ghana to join the noise and bandwagon of the NDC to criticize Akufo-Addo’s Government simply because President Akufo-Addo has made a conscious determination to rely on homegrown strategy and policies to address the concerns of Ghana’s economy instead of going to the World Bank and IMF for economic bailout.
The opinion of Pierre Laporte cannot override the gains, achievements and the collective direction of Akufo-Addo’s Government to address the economic challenges of Ghana. Under Akufo-Addo’s Presidency, Ghana shall certainly overcome the current challenges, restore macro-stability and reduce the hardship of Ghanaians without seeking financial resources from the World Bank or IMF.