RE: IMF, thank you for confirming Ghana’s distasteful manipulation of economic, financial data

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In a time of worldwide distress, where all other governments and its oppositions have joined forces in order to subdue the impacts of the global pandemic on economic activities and the lives of people, it is disingenuous for an Honorable Member of Parliament to paint a horrifying picture of Ghana’s economy.

Since the inception of the Akufo-Addo government, the Ministry of finance has been strictly operating on an open door policy that encourages the ordinary Ghanaian to seek clarification on matters relating to Ghana’s economic policies. Thus, parliamentarians are no aliens to this policy as its their responsibility to educate their constituents on such matters. In line with this, it is prudent and expected that all criticisms and allegations of this nature should be factual and credible.

The Gross International Reserves (GIR) are the total of Foreign Assets that are readily available to and controlled by Monetary Authorities (in the case of Ghana, the Bank of Ghana) in different forms. These constitute cash with correspondent banks, bonds, securities, special drawing rights held with the IMF, gold etc. The Net International Reserves (NIR) assesses how much of total foreign reserves are available to be used by the country in case of crisis. In order to make this assessment Foreign assets that are encumbered are excluded from the computation of NIR.

It appears that Hon. Adongo is accustomed to the ‘NDC way’ of doing things and for that matter; he is trying to pass on their old ways on to this current administration.   That said, it is important to note that, the erstwhile Mahama administration agreed with the IMF to exclude the Petroleum Holding Fund (PHF) in order to assess reserve build-up performance in the Technical Memorandum of Understanding (TMU) between the IMF and the Ghana Government.   However, the current administration has sought to argue that the PHF is not encumbered since it is available and fully under the control of the Central bank, hence there is no valid reason why it must be excluded in the computation of the NIR. This literally means that the IMF is aware and in agreement of the  Akufo-Addo government’s decision to include the PHF but also stick to their(IMF) own standard reporting.  As folks say, ”if you go to Rome, do what Romans do”.  That makes up for the reason to why there have been different reports to the IMF and Ghanaians. So that brings us to this question- is the government suppressing figures? Certainly not.

It is inappropriate for Hon. Adongo to make false allegations against government on double budgeting and inflating public expenditure to suit its purposes. If this was truly the case, why did he have to wait until a period like this to make his arguments and sentiments known?

Clearly, the Nana Addo led administration has always presented accurate public budgets in parliament, categorically stating estimated funds for each sector in the economy and what they sought to achieve at the end of each year. Budget reading in parliament allows for questions concerning any misgivings presented by the Minister of Finance. If such manipulations were been done, why did Mr. Adongo have to wait for three years to make it known to the public?
He has undoubtedly relied on unverified facts to score cheap political points. How does an Honorable member who claims has an appreciation of macroeconomics and finance, arrive at such a conclusion?

Even so, IMF through its Ghana representative Dr. Albert Touna Mama, exonerated the government of allegations of deliberate deceit and also went ahead to say that the government of Ghana did not submit wrong figures neither did it conceal any figures. This should be able to clear all doubts from the minds of well-meaning Ghanaians that the government is engaged in any wrongdoing as being posited by the Hon. Adongo. The IMF also explains that the difference in figures is because of a difference in opinions between the IMF and the government, in arriving at figures for the two Metrix that is the fiscal deficit and gross international reserve.

In light of the above, one can easily conclude that, Hon. Adongo seems to be in a haste to impress his political party because there is no excuse to this much display of distortion and baseless criticisms.  It is unfortunate that the NDC and its cohorts are relentlessly finding ways to score undue political points amidst the pandemic.

Source: Richard Ahiagbah, Executive Director of Danquah Institute

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