Ranking Member on Finance Committee in Parliament, Cassiel Ato Forson says government’s announcement of its intention to seek assistance from the IMF is not a fait accompli.

He explained that government’s delay in seeking support from the IMF will cost the country, since it would now have to ensure its debt is sustainable before the IMF could offer the needed support.

Speaking on Top Story, Friday, he said many countries like Zambia and Sri Lanka which have announced IMF programmes could not get it for many years because they waited too long.

“Anybody can announce an IMF programme but not anybody can get it. So announcing the IMF is one thing, getting the programme is another…my worry is if they fail to sign the programme from six months from today, investor confidence that we are gaining now would be lost.

“The government has waited too much and too long and that is my biggest problem. Now let me say that as a result of their delay in taking this decision, it is going to cost the nation.

Announcing IMF programme is one thing, getting it is another – Ato Forson
Ranking Member on Finance Committee in Parliament, Cassiel Ato Forson

“Today, you need to do one thing more. What was not actually in the 2015 programme, but it is here today is our debt is unsustainable. What it means is that you would have to first ensure that your unsustainable debt becomes sustainable then you will get an IMF programme,” he said.

According to him, government should have taken the decision to seek IMF support as early as last year.

“Clearly our economic situation 12 months ago was not as bad as it is now. In fact, 12 months ago our debt sustainability is not as precarious as it is now. Again our international credit facility is not as terrible as it is now, 12 months ago our investors have not lost so much confidence as they have lost now. 12 months ago, our inflation was not terrible as we are witnessing now,” he stated.

President Akufo-Addo has directed the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to begin formal engagements with the International Monetary Fund, for an economic programme.

A letter signed by the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, and dated July 1, 2022 indicated that there had already been a conversation between the IMF boss, Kristalina Georgieva and President Akufo-Addo conveying the government’s decision to engage the Fund.

“The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has authorized Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to commence formal engagements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), inviting the Fund to support an economic program put together by the Government of Ghana.”

The decision took many Ghanaians by surprise. This is because before approaching IMF, the government, on numerous occasions, insisted that a bailout from the Fund is not in its plans to restore fiscal stability in the country.

In February, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta noted that the repercussion of seeking an IMF bailout will not be favourable for the country’s fortunes.

“Consequences are dire, we are a proud nation, we have the resources, we have the capacity. We are not people of short-sight, but we have to move on.”

Subsequently, some NDC members have criticised the government’s decision.

The National Communications Officer for party, Sammy Gyamfi, in a tweet few hours after the government decision called out the government over its initial reluctance to resort to an IMF programme and the various criticisms against the Mahama-led administration for doing so during its tenure.

While describing them as “dishonest leaders,” he said the President and his vice have been exposed by their own words.

The MP for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George in a tweet on Friday said “We are officially going back to the IMF for a program. Finally, common sense is prevailing.”