President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has described the government’s decision to return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a financial bailout as a painful one.
Going to the IMF, he said, was not part of the economic transformation agenda the government has been pursuing, especially having gone the extra mile to bring to a successful end the IMF programme inherited from the previous government.
According to him, however, nobody imagined the government would order the closure of airports, offices, factories and schools due to a global pandemic.
“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.
Addressing the nation in what will be his last updates on Ghana’s enhanced response to the Coronavirus pandemic on Sunday 28th May 2023, the President stressed government did whatever it took to protect the lives of Ghanaians right at the onset of the pandemic.
This, he said, manifested in the popular quote, “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,”
According to him, the government knew the pandemic and the measures being taken to protect lives would be devastating to the economy but argued no one, anywhere, imagined the effect would be so widespread, so destructive and so deep.
“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.”
“When things came to the state where I concluded that we had to go to the IMF to access a facility for budgetary support, I gave directives to the Minister for Finance to start the process.”
“Luckily, the IMF has been most supportive, and we have ended up with having our programme approved in record time, culminating in the formal approval by the IMF Board on 17th May.”
He explained that the first tranche of 600 million US dollars has been credited to Ghana’s national account, out of the three billion US dollars negotiated for within a period of 36 months.
He assured that though access to the IMF facility will not spell the immediate end of the present difficulties, it will send a positive message to Ghana’s trading partners, creditors and investors that will be underpinned by the discipline, hard work and enterprise with which Ghana executes the programme.
The facility, he said, should lead to the restoration of confidence and the opening of avenues that had previously been closed to Ghana in the past year and a half and also lead to the resumption of many of the stalled infrastructural projects.
The President stressed that Ghana got herself out of a pandemic in which there were no precedents to rely upon and 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.”
“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 added.