Financial Analyst Sydney Casely Hayford has rubbished assertions the New Patriotic Party government is essentially admitting failure in the management of the economy, following the extension of Ghana’s programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The extension also prompted critics to accuse the Akufo-Addo administration of being hypocritical as President Nana Akufo-Addo, as recently as July 2017, assured that his government would not extend the programme after it ended on December 2018.
But the IMF, upon concluding its fourth review of Ghana’s programme in August 2017, extended the programme by one year and approved a $94.2 million disbursement.
Blaming gov’t unfair
First off, Mr. Casely Hayford noted on The Big Issuethat it was “very unlikely that the government, in its isolationist’s view will go and say we want to extend the programme.”
Thus any criticism thrown government’s way would be unfair because “if the IMF suggested that we [NPP government] extend for one year then why are you blaming government for extending the progamme?”
He also expressed confidence in the current government to navigate this extension with prudent policies.
“The reason why we are doing what we are doing is because, we now think we have a credible government with a strong financial team which has a good financial team with good pragmatic solutions for solving the problems we are facing, and they are proving it.”
Per the IMF’s assessment, Ghana showcased a mixed macroeconomic performance, with significant external and domestic imbalances being attributed to policy slippages.
Economic growth in 2016 was at a low of 3.5 percent, though the IMF said improved growth was expected in 2017-18, owing to an increase in oil production, declining inflation, and lower imbalances with the right policy implementation.
According to Mr. Casely Hayford, failings holding the current government back should be attributed to the past National Democratic Congress government.
“… We have hanging deliverables, things that we were not able to complete during the previous government’s time. We’ve inherited it. You [the NPP government] must fix it and the IMF is saying; fix it as we go forward and you are saying; give me one more year and I will fix it.”
Extension was prudent
Aside from this, Mr. Caseley Hayford said the extension was simply “prudent business. That is what a sensible business person does.”
Expressing his argument in an analogy he said: “You go and borrow a 100,000 dollars from the bank and the agreement is that you will pay $10,000 every month for 10 months, including the interest. So you start paying.”
“Halfway through you say I can’t pay any more but somebody has offered me a certain amount of cash. Can we rearrange so that instead of $10,000 a month, I will pay you $6,000 a month and I will stretch it over the next two years? And the person who gave you the original money says, fine, no problem.”
“Why is that an embarrassment? How does that become a shame?” Mr. Casely Hayford quizzed.