Skilled negotiators needed for IMF engagements – Mahama

Source The Ghana Report

Former President John Dramani Mahama has admonished the government to select tactful negotiators as Ghana seeks a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

At the same time, he has urged President Akufo-Addo to axe Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia from the Economic Management Team (EMT).

According to ex-president Mahama, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has also lost credibility and should be removed from the team negotiating with the IMF on Ghana’s behalf.

The country is faced with high debt, low revenue, rising inflation, steep depreciation of the cedis against other major currencies and a general rise in the cost of living attributed to external factors such as the Russia-Ukraine war and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government had indicated that it wasn’t considering a programme from the Bretton Wood institution after 16 bailouts from past governments.

However, after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, 30 June 2022, President Akufo-Addo has given the green light for interactions to commence.

In a statement following the government’s decision to seek a bailout from the IMF, Mr Mahama said Ghana should present a home-grown solution to the IMF.

“I welcome President Akufo-Addo’s decision to formally engage the IMF with the view to entering into a programme under the Fund.

“Though belated, it should mark an important step towards addressing the dire economic situation, which has left Ghanaians wallowing under intense suffering and hardships.

“Beyond the announcement of engagement with the IMF, a comprehensive home-grown programme should be fashioned out and presented to the Fund for support. It is imperative that a team of skilled and competent negotiators is put together to obtain the best set of measures with the Fund,” Mr Mahama said.

He added: “The Finance Minister who has supervised the disastrous collapse of the economy cannot and should not be part of the team of negotiators. He has lost credibility and the trust and confidence of stakeholders in our economy.

“President Akufo-Addo must take a bold decision to replace his finance minister immediately with a more assured and competent person who is willing and able to work tirelessly to turn our almost hopeless situation around.

“In addition, given his obvious failures, the Vice President must be relieved of his responsibility as Chair of the Economic Management Team to enable the President to reconstitute the team.We must draw useful lessons from this episode and avoid cheap politicking with the economy; that can only yield the disastrous outcomes that have brought us here,” Mr Mahama said.

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