For clarity, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in principle NEVER said that he was against the global role of IMF as an entity.
The statement of Dr. Bawumia on 24th March 2015 was rather against the REASONS WHY NDC under John Mahama was seeking an IMF bailout as it was avoidable at that period of 2015/2016.
You don’t run to IMF simply because of incompetence and inability to solve Dumsor despite massive borrowing leading to fiscal indiscipline, and precisely that was what Dr. Bawumia was talking about in March 2015.
Below are the explanations and justifications for the statement made by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on 24th March 2015 against Mahama going to the IMF for a bailout:
1. Mr. Chairman, the IMF bailout was avoidable if the government had listened to sound advice from many quarters much earlier. But the government refused to listen.
Explanation & Justification of Bawumia’s Statement
The reasons why John Mahama went to the IMF in 2015 were indeed avoidable if they had listened to sound advice from the World Bank, IMF, and CSOs on how to effectively handle the Dumsor crisis, and control reckless borrowing for the payment of judgment debts and less profitable projects leading to fiscal indiscipline.
Mahama’s blatant refusal to listen to sound advice from the quarters of the World Bank, IMF, International Credit Ratings and CSOs led to the crippling of the local economy, persistent Dumsor, collapsing of businesses/industries, and collapsing banking/financial sector.
However, in 2022 under Akufo-Addo’s Government, it is not Dumsor or reckless borrowing or fiscal indiscipline that is sending Ghana to the IMF. It is rather the adverse impact of COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine War, and the determination of Akufo-Addo’s Government to protect its flagship policies including over 2.2 million Ghanaian children who are enjoying Free SHS/TVET.
2. They believed in their propaganda and said “Yentie Obiaa” (we won’t listen to anyone). When the government was cautioned about the scale of borrowing, the government responded that it would borrow more.
Explanation & Justification of Bawumia’s Statement
Yes, it was true that when World Bank, IMF, and CSOs cautioned Mahama’s administration about the scale of reckless borrowing they said “Yentie Obiaa” and they kept borrowing to pay judgment debts including that of Woyome, and also undertook unprofitable policies such as guinea fowl, SADA project, bus branding, etc. while prudent solutions were still lacking to address Dumsor which was killing the Ghanaian economy.
Unlike “Yentie Obiaa” Mahama’s administration in 2015, the Akufo-Addo’s administration in 2022 has NEVER said that “Yentie Obiaa” during this economic reality caused by the impact of war in Ukraine and COVID-19. Akufo-Addo’s administration tried to use homegrown policies like E-levy to handle the economy without IMF but the government experienced a major setback due to a lack of cooperation from some Ghanaians to honor the E-levy and the usual mafia from the NDC Members of Parliament against the E-levy.
Again, Akufo-Addo’s administration tried to utilize an opportunity of a US$1 billion syndicated loan from some foreign banks but NDC Members of Parliament used their numbers to undermine such initiative.
Akufo-Addo’s Government thereafter set up a Committee with the membership of Alan Kyerematen, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Daniel Botwe, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah. This Committee reviewed, assessed, and engaged critical stakeholders on the mitigation measures that were introduced by Akufo-Addo’s Government to minimize the impact of the global economic crisis on Ghanaians and report same to the Cabinet for the necessary steps to be considered as to whether to go to the IMF or not after the insufficiency of the revenue target of E-levy.
It is therefore illogical for anyone to judge the competence and integrity of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia under these circumstances with the statement he made on March 24, 2015. At the time such statement was made there was nothing like the global economic crisis caused by COVID-19 and Russia-Ukraine War.
3. Now that their propaganda has been exposed by economic reality, they are now forced to listen to the IMF. We have moved from “Yentie Obiaa” to “Yebetie IMF Nkoa”(we will listen to the IMF only). IMF Bailout, will the Anchor Hold?
Explanation and Justification of Bawumia’s Statement
Yes, it was true that the economic reality in 2015 caused by a local phenomenon of persistent Dumsor exposed the propaganda of John Mahama’s administration and truly, John Mahama was forced to listen to only IMF because John Mahama’s administration went to the IMF for bailout without its economic program. IMF rather solely gave a program and roadmap to John Mahama’s administration to follow to restore fiscal discipline and possibly solve Dumsor. Unfortunately at the time of Mahama leaving Office regardless of the IMF bailout he failed to meet the expectations of IMF. At end of December 2016 under John Mahama, dumsor was still not solved, the Inflation rate couldn’t come down and fiscal discipline was not restored.
Is that the case for Akufo-Addo’s Government in 2022? Certainly Not.
Akufo-Addo’s administration since 2017 has not run the economy of Ghana with propaganda. The economic reality of Ghana in 2022 is different from the economic reality of Ghana in 2015/2016.
The economic reality of Ghana in 2022 is not caused by mismanagement, reckless borrowing, and fiscal indiscipline. World Bank, IMF, and Credit Rating Agencies all affirmed the narrative of the impact of global COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine War.
Is Akufo-Addo’s Government only listening to the IMF? Certainly Not.
To quicken the economic recovery of Ghana, Akufo-Addo’s Government may still rely on its homegrown policy such as E-levy to complement the support from the IMF.
Akufo-Addo’s Government is also going to the IMF with its Own Economic Programme, unlike John Mahama who went to IMF without an Economic Programme.
Therefore, the equalization of incompetence tag that John Mahama and NDC are desperately seeking to have with Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia because of his 2015 statement has completely fallen flat.
John Mahama going to the IMF in 2015 was completely AVOIDABLE if they had earlier listened to sound advice from World Bank, IMF, and Co.
Akufo-Addo going to the IMF in 2022 is completely UNAVOIDABLE due to the late passage and implementation of E-levy caused by the resistance of John Mahama and NDC Members of Parliament.
Source: Razak Kojo Opoku