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18 January 2017

IMF program wasn’t approved by Parliament – Akoto Osei

Dr. Anthony Osei Akoto

The minister-nominee for Monitoring and Evaluation, Anthony Osei Akoto, has denied that Ghana’s loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was approved by parliament.

According to him, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), side-stepped parliament to sign the agreement.

Speaking on Eyewitness News on Monday, Mr. Akoto Osei said although some legislators in the minority of the previous parliament brought the issue before the house and threatened a court action, government failed to seek parliamentary approval for the agreement.

“Even though the IMF programme was signed by government, it was never approved by parliament… It is an executive arrangement between the government and the IMF, but the people of Ghana did not approve of it,” he said.

He noted that, it was in the interest of the IMF to ensure that its subsequent agreements received parliamentary approval.

“We raised the issue and we threatened to go to court, we didn’t go but it is still an issue. It is in the interest of the IMF that this type of thing is not done without parliament.”

The NDC government led by President John Mahama signed the deal for a 3-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Programme for Ghana with the IMF, for a total support of US$918 million in 2015.

The programme was among other things to help restore debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability to foster a return to high growth and job creation, through agriculture and infrastructure investment, while ensuring prudent social spending, and to help rebuild external buffers.

Following the swearing-in of a new government led by the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Nana Akufo-Addo, calls have been renewed for a renegotiation of the deal, which many say has negatively affected the country.

Some key aspects of the deal which many have suggested for reconsideration is the freeze on the net employment of public sector workers.

But according to the former minority spokesperson on Finance, renegotiating the deal will not be new.

“A programme that runs any period of time will certainly come up for renegotiation either from government or the IMF. If the IMF finds out that we have met some targets, they will call for renegotiation.”

He emphasized that, the new government must prove to the IMF that it can reduce taxes and still meet the IMF targets.

He however assured that, the Ministry of Finance and the Economic Management team will look into the matter of a moratorium on employments into the public and civil services and take a decision.

Source: citifmonline.com

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