Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has assured parliamentarians that he will ensure that talks with the IMF are positive and do not put Ghanaians in any undue hardship.

The Minister gave this assurance at the conclusion of the debate on the Mid-year budget statement on Wednesday.

However, during the debate, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu described the budget as one which offered no hope to Ghanaians.

Concluding the debate for his side, the Tamale South MP said the mid-year budget did not have anything to ease the burden on Ghanaians.

“Mr Speaker, again, this administration without rapid and broad economic growth as well as an effective attack on corruption, the Ghanaian economy is likely to sink into deeper crisis than what appears to be in the Mid-year review,” he said.

On his part, Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu blamed the current economic crisis on the NDC’s opposition to the passing of the electronic transaction levy (e-levy). According to him, the hesitation to have the policy passed caused fear and panic among Ghanaians

“… the brouhaha that the passing of the e-levy generated was really harmful, Mr Speaker, it caused panic, the rating agencies downgraded Ghana and this made it impossible for government to raise new loans. In the event, investors started disinvesting and there ensued pressure on foreign currencies. That explains why by the end of the first quarter, the Ghana cedi suffered depreciation of 15.8 percent,” he explained

He added that the Russian and Ukraine conflict compounded the economic hardship in the country.

Following the conclusion of Parliament’s debate on the Mid-year Budget, which included comments from both sides of the House, the Finance Minister went ahead to assure the House that he has taken their criticisms in good faith.

“Mr Speaker, at this point I will like to thank members of this session for the statement that we’ve made and particularly for the contributions from the Minority side and certainly from our side that as we go through the year, we will ensure that this engagement with the IMF is positive for the country and the country will be back on course,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo had earlier assured Ghanaians that his government will negotiate a good deal with the International Monetary Fund.

He said the NPP has a track record of negotiating deals that serve the best interest of the country with the IMF.

“Our party, we have a tradition of taking Ghana out of difficulties. We took Ghana out of HIPC in President Kufuor’s time. We took Ghana out of the derailed IMF programme of 2015,” he cited.

The President gave the assurance at the NPP’s National Delegates Conference held at the Accra Sports Stadium.