Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Dr Anthony Yaw Baah has said the congress is waiting patiently to hear the views of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the ongoing National Cathedral project.
He indicated that the cathedral is being built during a difficult period when school children do not have enough food to eat in schools.
“If you make a cathedral priority of priorities, there is something wrong with it. We will see. If we are in these hard times and cathedrals would be built when children cannot get free meals, when our SHS students cannot get food to eat in Ghana.
“There is something wrong and you are building cathedral. So we will see if the IMF will allow this cathedral thing to to go on,” he said at a press conference in Accra on Monday July 18.
Dr Yaw Baah further rejected the decision by the government to go to the Fund because in his view, the Bretton Woods institution will not help tackle the fundamental issues facing the economy.
“Our main challenge with the management of the economy has to do with the corruption and failure on the part of successive governments to transform the structure of the economy of this country so that Ghanaians can produce what we eat and eat what we produce,” he said.
He added “Currently, the profit-making sectors, including mining, petroleum and banking, are all in the hands foreigners. I always ask my colleagues, why is it that Nigerian banks are all over the country but I cannot hear of any Ghanaian banks in Nigeria? IMF porgrammes will not deal with these fundamentals. IMF porgrammes, you know what they do?
“They only prepare the country for another IMF programme, that is why you go for one, two or three, four up to 18. So this 218th programme is going to prepare Ghana for 19th programme and the 19th one will prepare Ghana for the 20th. You know it is like that? so that IMF will be in business otherwise they have no business.
“We know very well that the 18th programme that is being negotiated will not be different but I want to assure you all Ghanaians that what will be different is that TUC will will lead the working people of Ghana to resist any attempts to impose hardships on workers and their families and the Ghanaian people because the IMF, the content of the programme will not be different but the resistance from the people of Ghana will make it different.”
Meanwhile, the IMF has stated its commitment to help Ghana resolve its challenges.
The staff team led by Carlo Sdralevich concluded its visit to Ghana with the government of Ghana on Wednesday July 13.
The team arrived in the country July 6 to assess the current economic situation and discuss the broad lines of the government’s Enhanced Domestic Programme that could be supported by an IMF lending arrangement.
They also met with the Parliament’s Finance Committee, civil society organizations, and development partners, including UNICEF and the World Bank to engage on social spending.
At the conclusion of the mission, Mr. Sdralevich issued the following statement said “Ghana is facing a challenging economic and social situation amid an increasingly difficult global environment. The fiscal and debt situation has severely worsened following the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, investors’ concerns have triggered credit rating downgrades, capital outflows, loss of external market access, and rising domestic borrowing costs.
“In addition, the global economic shock caused by the war in Ukraine is hitting Ghana at a time when the country is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic shock and with limited room for maneuver. These adverse developments have contributed to slowing economic growth, accumulation of unpaid bills, a large exchange rate depreciation, and a surge in inflation.
“The IMF team held initial discussions on a comprehensive reform package to restore macroeconomic stability and anchor debt sustainability. The team made progress in assessing the economic situation and identifying policy priorities in the near term.
“The discussions focused on improving fiscal balances in a sustainable way while protecting the vulnerable and poor; ensuring credibility of the monetary policy and exchange rate regimes; preserving financial sector stability; and designing reforms to enhance growth, create jobs, and strengthen governance.
“IMF staff will continue to monitor the economic and social situation closely and engage in the coming weeks with the authorities on the formulation of their Enhanced Domestic Program that could be supported by an IMF arrangement and with broad stakeholders’ consultation
“We reaffirm our commitment to support Ghana at this difficult time, consistent with the IMF’s policies.
“Staff express their gratitude to the authorities, civil society, and development partners for their constructive engagement and support during the mission.”
The Government of Ghana on Friday July 1 announced that it was seeking support from the IMF.
This followed a telephone conversation between the President and the IMF Managing Director, Miss Kristalina Georgieva, conveying Ghana’s decision to engage with the Fund, a statement by the Ministry of Information said.