This piece relies on the Daily Graphic report of June 4th?for the gist of the speech delivered by Professor Botchway at the Central University College which by the hard earned reputation and tradition of the newspaper is ?truth and accuracy everyday.?
We foremost deny the moral right of Professor Botchway to lament the lamentations of the people who live under the scourge of destitution and poverty that was precipitated by an implementation of his economic development policies of liberalisation, crony privatisation and austerity measures that included the retrenchment and redeployment of labour.
In place of a subdued political lecture that surreptitiously canvassed the economic development policy prescriptions of external financial and commercial interests, the professor could have served the search of our nation for an effective and suitable development policy with a review and an assessment of the impact of the structural adjustment policy he implemented on growth and development in our country. This was also a necessary requirement for an evaluation of his contribution to the search for development policy options, growth and development.
We know nonetheless that as an independent reviewer of the IMF policy of Structural Adjustment in the ?Report by a Group of Independent Experts Review: External Evaluation of the ESAF. Washington DC IMF 1998, Professor Botchway expressed the view that structural adjustment did not lead to sustained growth in the countries that complied with its prescriptions and that the austerity measures in these countries stifled growth.
Professor Botchway was also incidentally in accord with the position of the Convention People?s Party and Organised Labour for a gradualist implementation of the policies of privatisation and liberalisation.
He concurred that the pre-requisite and condition for success was the prior existence of strong financial and capital markets and a competitive export and import substitution manufacturing sector to preserve and protect jobs that in all probability would be lost in a hasty and pre-mature implementation of a trade liberalisation and privatisation policy.
Professor Botchway could also not have been unaware of similar views in an internal review by IMF staff in a report ?The ESAF at Ten Years: Economic Adjustment and Reform in Low ?Income Countries, Occasional Papers No 156 February 12 1998? and another from IMF staff to the Board of Directors of the IMF titled ?Distilling the Lessons from the ESAF Reviews? (Washington DC, IMF, July 1998)
The muted recommendation to our nation by the eminent professor for an acceptance of IMF funds and its policy strictures of austerity for macroeconomic stability and therefore a continuation of the policies of structural adjustment that includes the abrogation of measures of social protection and job protection is disingenuous.
The evaluation of factors by Professor Botchway in the recommendation for a choice of credit finance for our development was slanted to direct us to funds from the IMF.??He failed for instance to point out the view of the world renowned economist Dambisa Moyo??that compared to commercial loans that require proof of cash flow viability for repayment, funds from the IMF that require no such proof are exposed to abuse. In fact, IMF loans are the feedstock of corruption of the political leadership in Sub-Sahara Africa in addition to the debilitating policy restrictions and strictures they impose.
The anticipated honourable nationalist duty of our longest serving minister for economic planning and finance was an advocacy for a reform for a more transparent IMF whose policy prescriptions are subject to debate to facilitate effective policy prescriptions and choices.
Instead of the policy of fiscal austerity that the professor acknowledges stifles growth, we expected him to make a case for an IMF compliance with the vision of its founding fathers to return to its original mandate to provide liquidity for investments to sustain demand and keep the crisis hit economies in full employment to contribute to global economic stability.
In opposition to the development policies of decolonisation and the imperative of government intervention to satisfy the development aspirations and prosperity of the people, the former minister of the African country that lit the flame of political and economic emancipation in Sub-Sahara Africa is an advocate of free market fundamentalism and an adoption of the policy tenets of globalisation that advocates free competition for the control of African and global resources.
It is this fact of the reality of competing development policy alternatives represented by political parties that exposes the nullity and futility of the call by Professor Botchway for a ?development consensus?
The development consensus in a pluralistic democracy is the development policy and programmes of the ruling government that is approved by the people in a general election. Any other definition and pursuit is spurious and can only be an attempt to mollify legitimate and valid dissension.
This ?development consensus? is protected and guaranteed for execution in the absence of an illegal overthrow of the state and by the pledge of the minority not to inhibit its implementation and also by the government not to impede the transformation of the minority view to a national consensus.
There has been no violation of this democratic convention in our country so far to warrant or justify the suggestion of the Professor for a novel ?development consensus? he fails to define and describe.
By extension, the agitation for the use of the National Development Planning Commission as a focus for the definition and design of this ?development consensus? is unfounded because the institution is not a political party and has no mandate from the people.??It can at best be an advisory body with no power of compulsion and enforcement of development policy. Any other role in development planning and execution will be an unacceptable usurpation of the rights and duties of political parties and the mandate of governments.
The Convention People?s Party is unalterably opposed to any attempt to make the policy of structural adjustment an official national development policy guideline because they conflict the policy prescription of its Nkrumaist development philosophy of decolonisation and the quest for an internally sustained balanced growth and development through the development of the productive resources of the nation to satisfy domestic demand and export.
Again, Professor Botchway gives no definition and direction in the determination of what he refers to as ?national interest? It is however instructive that all political parties present their conflicting and opposing development policy prescriptions as an embodiment of the national interest and since all political and economic decisions have gainers and losers the classification of any single set of policies in peace time as representative of national interest is deceptive and ruse.
The nation should be alerted of the intents and purposes of Professor Botchway and the interests he serves. His double speak on the economic development policy of structural adjustment is worrisome.
We can only wait for the outcome of the divination of Professor Botchway to find out from our forebears why and how we are so poor when they ?christen this glorious and well-endowed patch of land on the Gulf of Guinea coast the Black Star?
Finally, if the eminent Professor is fatigued and distressed by our lamentation, then this is our Song of Lamentation that disposes his lamentation.
OUR SONG OF LAMENTATION
??It is not our wish and desire to lament
We are ravaged by the scourge of impoverishment
It began aback in ten and two decades
Our lamentation is deep seated, deep throated and aged
We were redundant, redeployed and retrenched
PAMSCAD did not feel and touch our misery
We lament amidst insensitive bluff and bluster
And if it makes you blush
Should we like unwanted babies be hidden in the bush?
But we are no longer babies
We are long gone Fathers, Uncles, Mothers and Aunties
Our supplication your professorship we profess.
Heal the wounds and dry the tears of the heirs of poverty and hopelessness.
Our children should lament no more.?
Our Song of Lamentation to dispose our suffering is a call to the nation to take up our cross of responsibility for colonial freedom.
We should remember that ?from now on, we are no longer colonised people and Ghana our beloved country is free forever.?
We should lift off the heavy lading of the burden of structural adjustment to fulfill the mission of our nation in history to show the world that with the use of our God given intellect and natural resources we can bring prosperity to our people.
This is the call of Sankofa CPP
The writer is the Chairman of the Political Committee of the CPP.
By Ekow Duncan