President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has warned Ghanaians that access to the IMF facility will not spell the immediate end to the country’s economic difficulties.
Rather the deal, according to him, would send a positive message to the country’s trading partners, creditors and investors, underpinned by the discipline, hard work and enterprise with which the government executes the programme.
The President said for the fact that Ghana had been able to negotiate such a deal, it should lead to the restoration of confidence and the reopening of avenues that were closed to the country in the past year and a half.
In his address to the nation on measures taken against the Covid-19 pandemic on Sunday, President Akufo-Addo said the IMF deal should also lead to the resumption of many of the infrastructural projects that have stalled.
It would be recalled that, right at the onset of the pandemic, President Akufo-Addo announced that the government would do whatever it took to protect the lives of the Ghanaians.
In the now often quoted statement, “we know what to do to bring the economy back to life, but what we do not know is how to bring people back to life”.
The clear implication was that the government would protect lives even if it was at the risk of harming the economy.
According to President Akufo-Addo, he knew that the pandemic and the measures his government was taking to keep Ghanaians alive would have a devastating effect on the economy.
“I owe it to you, my compatriots, and to myself to go to any length to bring back the economy to the rude health it was in before the onset of the pandemic.”
President Akufo-Addo said going to the IMF was a painful decision for him to take, because going to the Fund was not part of the economic transformation agenda he had been pursuing, “especially as my government had gone the extra mile to bring to a successful end the IMF programme we inherited from the previous government.”
“But who would have imagined that President Akufo-Addo would order the closure of airports, offices, factories or schools. We were in extraordinary times and we took extraordinary measures, and when faced with the realities of the economic crisis last year, I accepted the challenge that the economy required a similar attitude, including the sacrifices many of us have made in recent times.”
He said luckily, the International Monetary Fund has been most supportive to Ghana, adding: “we have ended up with having our programme approved in record time, culminating in the formal approval by the IMF Board on 17th May.
“As I am sure we have all heard by now, the details of the programme have been explained by officials of the Fund and by our Minister for Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Ghana.
“The first tranche of 600 million US dollars has been credited to our national account, out of the three billion US dollars that we have negotiated to receive within a period of 36 months,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana got itself out of a pandemic with no precedents to rely, and where even the experts admitted they had no clear-cut solutions.
“We did it by being resolute, being focused and working very hard, and by accepting that we had to stick together.”
President Akufo-Addo said with a similar frame of mind and attitude, “we shall overcome the economic difficulties as well, sooner rather than later.
“I have no doubts at all in my mind that we are on the right path, and we would soon start to see significant improvements in the economy and in the living standards of Ghanaians,” he assured.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD