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CSOs platform calls for an extension of IMF programme

By
Belinda Ayamgha, GNA

Accra July 14, GNA –
The Civil Society Organisations’ Platform on Ghana IMF programme says an
extension of the package will best serve the nation’s interest since it will
allow for better implementation of the structural reforms.

Dr Godfred Alufar
Bokpin, a Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, said there was
the need to extend the agreement in order to drive the much needed reform to
improve the fiscal governance framework.

He was speaking at the
Fourth National Civil Society Forum on Ghana’s International Monetary Fund
Programme in Accra on Thursday, on the theme: “Three Years into the
IMF-Supported Extended Credit Facility Arrangement: Is the Ghanaian economy on
the right path?”

He explained that the
programme had achieved limited effectiveness in the light of the fact that most
of the programme objectives had not been met, especially in 2016, with fiscal
deficit at 10.3 per cent on commitment basis in 2016, about the same as when
the negotiation fort the programme started in 2014.

“Whatever gains we
made in the first year of the programme implementation were effectively
reversed during the election,” he said, adding that this in theory, effectively
ended the programme as the conditions were not met.

“What we should be
asking for now is to demonstrate how we can correct the deficiencies that we
have seen in the programme and get back on track and probably ask for
extension,” he stated.

 Dr Bokpin said the strength of the
IMF-supported programme should be seen in terms of the structural reforms that
were contained in the programmes especially as Ghana was unable, on its own, to
develop and execute those reforms.

Some of those reforms,
including the Bank of Ghana Act and the Public Financial Management Act though
they had been passed, did not contain exactly what Ghana needed thus there was
room for some amendments which an extension will allow.

“The IMF itself has
incentive to ensure that the programme is extended because Ghana for a while
had been a success of the IMF programmes in sub-Saharan Africa and they don’t
want this to be tainted and if a request comes from the …Government, they will
not say no,” he said.

Ms Natalia Koliadina,
the IMF Resident Representative in Ghana, said though the programme had had its
ups and downs, the current government’s continuity with the programme indicated
its desire to depoliticise macro-economic policies and showed its commitment to
reinstate fiscal discipline, especially in light of the limited fiscal space it
had to carry out its agenda.

She took participants
through the implementation of the programme so far and it’s current status and
also expressed the hope that Ghana would graduate from fund-supported
programmes.

“It can and should be
done,” she stated, adding that civil society organisations could play an
important role in the prioritisation of development projects, which was
necessary to manage expenditure and ensuring value for money,” she said.

Dr Joe Abbey,
Executive Director for the Centre for Policy Analysis and Chair for the forum
expressed the important role of civil society in such programmes, saying
Ghanaian must own such interventions.

“It is to us to make
these programmes our own because they are not owned by the politicians.

“When things go awry
thy will fall on us so let’s claim the ownership. That’s what all this is
about,” he stated.

He said civil society
in Ghana must insist and get there was a legislation that made it possible for
government to make available to them the information that it gave to
institutions like the IMF and World Bank so that they would not have to go
through the IMF to get access to such data.

GNA

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