By: Vincent Baffour-Acheampong with files from Africa Report
The flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo, has attributed Ghana?s economic woes to mismanagement and widespread corruption within the government.
According to him, the government in power has received more resources than any other government in the 60-year period of Ghana?s existence yet the country?s current state did not reflect this.
?The economy, four or five years ago, was considered the rising star of Africa but is now bankrupt and back in the hands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), begging for a billion dollars to sustain it over the next two or three years?, the NPP flag bearer said in an interview with Africa Report.
He said, though the country was grappling with the issue of mismanagement and corruption no serious effort had been made to tackle the structural problems confronting the nation and no clear idea of what has happened to all of the money generated from loans, tax revenues and export receipts.
Describing Ghana?s International Monetary Fund (IMF) program as a sad development for Ghana, Nana Addo questioned how effective the program would be if Ghana lacked the capacity to fully implement the program.
He noted that parliament?s inability to effectively perform its oversight role was as a result of the distribution of powers between the legislature and the executive.
With parliament having no control over the exchequer, Nana Addo explained that the full ramifications of the IMF deal had not been placed before parliament for scrutiny.
?We?re the opposition, and it?s our prime responsibility to demand parliamentary scrutiny. But the full ramifications of the [IMF] deal have never been put before parliament. The oversight capability of our parliament is a problem because of the distribution of powers between the legislature and the executive. Our parliament doesn?t have any control over the exchequer. Money bills are all the function of the executive. No member of parliament has a right to bring a money bill without the authorisation of the minister of finance. I believe our parliament should be like all parliaments: the final authority and the final control over the exchequer. These are very important constitutional reforms that will have to be made?, he opined.
Following a series of economic challenges that hit the country, Ghana has sort financial solace with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), signing a three year deal that is aimed at restoring debt sustainability through fiscal discipline.
Government?s decision to seek a bailout from the IMF to help restore stability in the economy, particularly in the areas of strengthening the local currency and reducing the fiscal deficit was greeted with mixed reactions by the public, including the Minority in Parliament, who blamed the current state of the economy on gross mismanagement.
Industry stakeholders also expressed the belief that the IMF?s bailout would further burden Ghanaians with economic hardships, since stringent measures would have to be instituted to salvage the economy.
However, President, Mr John Dramani Mahama refuted such claims and explained that the government decided to hold discussions with the IMF not because of government?s failure to manage the economy but because the country needed the IMF bailout for policy credibility and confidence from the international financial institutions, capital markets and investors due to the measures it was implementing to restore economic stability and growth.