President John Dramani Mahama says the decision to open discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not because of the failure of government's own home grown solutions, but rather because of the need for policy credibility and confidence from the international financial institutions, capital markets and investors for the measures been implemented to restore economic stability and growth.
He noted that turning to the IMF was a decision to gain the seal of approval from the Bretton Wood institution for the country's homegrown measures. Answering a question about the decision to join the Fund's programme at GE-Economist event as a part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders' Summit in Washington DC, President Mahama stressed that there will be no significant changes in Ghana's domestic policy. "So we are going to discuss with the IMF how we can turn the deficit around quickly and create the kind of confidence even in the short-term narrative," he stressed.
The GE sponsored event focused on "Africa Ascending: Powering Inclusive Growth" brought together a number of global leaders including government officials, business leaders, NGOs, policy experts and entrepreneurs at the forefront of solving the world's energy challenges.
"We are taking subsidies off fuel and the utilities, streamlining the spiraling public sector wages, we are working to improve revenue collection and efficiency in collecting taxes and also reforming the public financial management system," the President stated. He also responded to the negativity about the Ghanaian economy and the seeming interest of some to pain a gloomy picture of the economy. According to President Mahama, there is a grave misunderstanding of Ghana's potential because of too much fixation on the short-term narrative.
"As much as we have tried to draw attention to Ghana's potential, there is too much fixation with the short-term narrative; yes there has been a deficit and inflation has gone up but we have put in measures to turn that around.
Deficits are not turned around just in a year or two... the deficit will be brought under control by 2017," he stated. He however acknowledged that the unfortunate international narrative on the short-term challenges of Ghana has come about probably because Ghana has been "one of the few most potential emerging markets in Africa in recent times."
President Mahama called for a change in the international narrative about Ghana to the medium-term prospects because the prospects for growth are good. He disclosed that Ghana would by end of August sign a new deal with ENI concerning the country's Sankofa field to explore more than a trillion cubic feet of gas in addition to 50,000 barrels of oil daily. "The potential for growth is therefore good", he noted. With GE preparing to kick-start a 1,000MW electricity project and the expected signing on Tuesday of a new MCC compact, which will channel some $300milion towards the improvement of the country's power sector, President Mahama said the target to attain 5,000MW of electricity generation for Ghana is on course.
Flagstaff House Communications Bureau
Office of the President