Former Finance Minister, Seth Tekper, has asked government to take a second look at some of its flagship programmes, as the country heads for an IMF bailout.

He said this is necessary to bring the economy back on track.

He stressed that most of the flagship programmes, including the Free Senior High School initiative (Free SHS), and the Agenda 111 are unsustainable and a drain on the national coffers, therefore should be reviewed.

“Free SHS in its unfettered form is not sustainable. Your debt is not sustainable, and you’re borrowing. You’re using your whole revenue to cover compensation and interest. You’re borrowing for the past debts that you’ve borrowed to repay the past debt that you borrowed to support free SHS. That’s not a palatable discussion,” he said.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, on July 4, Mr. Tekper noted that in hard times, when the country is witnessing an economic crisis, prudent measures are needed to cushion the economy, including “cutting down on expenditure.”

He stated for instance that, during his tenure as the Finance Minister under the Mahama-led administration, the government had to halt various flagship programmes in order to deal with the various economic challenges.

“We were in the Fund [IMF], when crude oil prices fell in 2015/2016. [Then,] our flagship programme was the E-schools. We initially stated that we were going to construct 200 schools. But when the reality hit, President Mahama indicated that we were not going to be able to complete all the 200, we may be able to do 150 and even with that, we rolled it into 2017, and 2018. We were able to construct about 70 when we were leaving office,” he recalled.

“So that’s the sort of decisions you have to make,” he added.

This follows the Akufo-Addo-led government’s decision to seek economic support from the IMF.

A statement 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 government’s decision to engage the Fund.

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

Cabinet at a meeting on June 30, 2022, supported government’s decision to pursue an economic programme from the Fund.

The engagement with the IMF, the statement pointed out, will seek to provide a balance of payment support as part of a broader effort to quicken Ghana’s build back in the face of challenges induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and, recently, the Russian-Ukraine crisis. 

Meanwhile, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, says government is likely to receive about $2 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after deliberations on a specific support package are concluded.

He stated that considering Ghana’s quota and macroeconomic data, it is possible for the country to get that money to help shore up its reserves.

As a result, government may be able to meet its liquidity and debt service obligations and also boost domestic revenue measures.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.