Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, is urging President Akufo-Addo to keep his promise to Ghanaians and fire his cousin, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, after cinching the US$3 billion IMF deal.
It is recalled that the Majority caucus in Parliament, called for Mr Ofori-Atta to be sacked, but after meeting the President, the caucus in a statement dated October 26, 2022, revealed that the President asked them to stand down until Ghana’s negotiations with the IMF were concluded.
On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, the executive board of the IMF, approved the $3 billion bailout allowing for an immediate disbursement of about $600 million.
Following the successful conclusion of the deal, Mr Ablakwa, is asking if President Nana Akufo-Addo will consider the request of his members of Parliament.
In a Facebook post, the North Tongu MP said “After an embarrassing IMF U-Turn deal, Ghanaians expect President Akufo-Addo to keep his promise by firing his cousin, Ken Ofori-Atta — who is now widely regarded as Ghana’s most disastrous Finance Minister.”
“Will the President attempt in this instance to be a man of his word”? he quizzed.
Prior to this new reminder, several calls on the President from a section of Ghanaians and civil society organisations for Mr Ofori-Atta to be fired due to the difficult economic conditions fell of deaf ears.
Meanwhile, the minority caucus has, in a statement signed by its leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, warned Ghanaians to brace up for hard times as a result of the conditionalities of the $3 billion IMF bailout.
“The minority has, on countless occasions, cautioned this government that the fruits of its crass mismanagement of Ghana’s economy through wanton misuse of borrowed funds for consumption purposes had long crystallised into a crisis”, he said in a statement, adding: “We urged the government to immediately seek the Fund’s support long ago, a call that was flatly disregarded”.
“The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia NPP government’s continuous denial over the true state of Ghana’s economy, and their strenuous attempts to shift responsibility and blame external factors have been clear from day one”.
“Despite all the manipulations of the data to hide the true state of the economy, the real situation on the ground has no doubt subsequently compelled them to arrive at the doorsteps of the IMF like a patient in an emergency ambulance, desperate for immediate resuscitation”.
“Suffice it to say that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government, as part of their proposal to the IMF to secure this deal, has agreed to increase utility tariffs every three months from last year. So far, since September 2022, electricity tariffs have gone up by a cumulative figure of 75.32% (27% in September 2022, 29.96% in the last quarter of 2022, and 18.36% a few days ago)”, the statement said.
“Let us brace ourselves for the full consequences of this IMF deal, which will, without doubt, bite hard on Ghanaians, especially the youth. This is not a counsel of despair, but a reality that will soon dawn on all of us”, the statement.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has said the first tranche of the $3 billion extended credit facility from the International Monetary Fund will hit Ghana’s account by tomorrow, Friday, 19 May 2023.
At a joint press conference of the government of Ghana and officials of the IMF on Thursday, 18 May 2023, Mr Ofori-Atta said: “There is a $600 million release, and we will be working with the IMF to see if we can get it by tomorrow, and then we will move on to the next 6 months which will be another $600 million, and then we move on to about 5 different tranches every 6 months in the periods ahead”.
The Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Ernest Addison, who was also at the press conference, confirmed it, sayin: “Just for your information, we have had swift advice, today to receive the money. Value date tomorrow $604 million”.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the executive board approval given to the bailout, has already started impacting Ghana’s economy positively.
“We are already seeing relative stability in the currency and inflation and revitalising our economy. Government with support from the IMF and collective effort with Ghanaians will work through our current challenges and emerge stronger”, he said.
At the presser, the Fund’s mission chief for Ghana, Stephane Roudet, said Ghana’s reform programme is full of substance.
“It is important to emphasise that this is a programme that is very rich in its structural components”, explaining: “It includes many reforms that cover a large range of sectors and these reforms will make the economy more resilient to shocks in the future and this is what the government and the IMF are looking for in this programme”.
“It is a programme that will make the economy more resilient and more likely to withstand shocks in the future”, Mr Roudet added.