Ghana Parliament hosts IMF Deputy Managing Director
The Committee of the Whole of Parliament on Wednesday hosted Mr John Lipsky, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with a call on the institution to wean Ghana from the vagaries of IMF assistance.
Committee members said the IMF’s conditionalities are unacceptable because they offer packages to developing countries that far out-weighed the benefits.
In response, Mr Lipsky said: “The conditions on our financial arrangement have been made more flexible.”
He noted that the goal was to focus conditionality on reforms that were critical to economic success while ensuring that countries have the opportunities to follow policy approaches that were appropriate for their circumstances.
“We want to work with our members to explore a variety of options for economic reforms that will generate real progress,” he said.
Mr Lipsky noted that the IMF had approved a general allocation of Special Drawing Right (SDR), an international reserve asset that pumped $250 billion into the world economy with Ghana’s share being $450 million.
The fund, he said, boosted by 25 per cent Ghana’s international reserves, which according to him were important in maintaining confidence in a country’s ability to meet international financial obligations.
Ghana, Mr Lipsky noted had accumulated massive fiscal imbalance in 2008 which meant that 2009 as the world crisis worsened had no room to pump money into the economy through fiscal stimulus.
“With inflation surging, public debt snowballing and the cedi depreciating rapidly, something had to be done,” he said adding that for this reason Ghana had turned to the IMF for assistant.
He said the first assessment in October 2009 was positive as management of spending had been tightened which helped in reducing the deficit.
“As you in parliament have recognized, the deficit must be pruned both this year and next year” he said.
He emphasize that unless the country’s fiscal affairs were managed carefully even austerely, oil revenues would not be able to make real difference to growth, job creation and standard of living.
Mr Lipsky stressed that through international cooperation among advanced economies the global economy was stabilizing with evidence of resumed growth in many advanced countries.
“In time, this will also become increasingly evident in Africa,” he noted.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minority Leader called for an internal revenue generating system that would boost the economic fortunes of the country.
Majority Leader, Mr Alban Bagbin said the old order of IMF dealing with the executive alone in their operations should changed by recognizing the role of the legislature as well.
He said the legislature formed the microcosm of the country and that consulting them means consulting the whole country.
Mr Doe Adjaho first Deputy Speaker of parliament chaired the meeting.