The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has described the government’s decision to enter into formal engagements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as “a tragic and sad mistake for Ghana”.
According to the TUC, this would be the eighteenth time the country’s economy has been handed over to the IMF for management, adding that “it is very sad because it is a clear indication that we cannot manage our own affairs.” .
The union said it would be the fifth time Ghana has implemented IMF programs in the Fourth Republic alone.
These were contained in a statement by the union’s general secretary, Dr Yaw Baah and copied to the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday.
According to the statement, the union recognizes the impact of global developments on Ghana’s economy, adding that the current state of the economy suggests that the robust economy which the government claims to have built before the COVID-19 pandemic is n was not strong enough.
“It must have been built on straw foundations, but Ghanaians were told our economy was strong and stable,” the statement said.
He said it was obvious Ghana’s economy was in dire straits, but said handing over management of the economy to the IMF was not the solution to the country’s problems.
“These IMF programs have only imposed unnecessary hardship on Ghanaians with next to nothing to show for them. The solutions offered by the Fund are not appropriate for our economy. fundamental problems facing the economy,” he added. said.
According to the TUC, the negative social implications with which the IMF-sponsored programs were implemented during the period of structural adjustment were still very fresh in the memories of Ghanaians.
He recounted how tens of thousands of public sector workers lost their jobs, pointlessly citing an example with the IMF’s last Extended Credit Facility program from 2015 to 2018.
He said the scheme was conditional on the government freezing civil service employment, among other conditions.
“What we got in return was an economy still too dependent on the production and export of raw materials and the import of manufactured goods. Most of our productive sectors such as mining, oil and telecommunications are still controlled by foreign companies,” he added.
The statement said Ghana’s history of engagement with the IMF provided ample evidence that IMF-sponsored programs and policies could not change the country’s economic situation.
He said the only reason a government would want to seek an IMF bailout was to seek a quick short-term solution to its ongoing economic challenges, adding that Ghana had done it seventeen times and the government had just announce the start of commitments for the eighteenth IMF-sponsored program.
“One thing is very certain – the eighteenth IMF program will not solve our problems. Therefore, we must be ready for the nineteenth, twentieth and more programs in the coming years, even though it is so obvious that IMF programs pay virtually no attention to removing structural constraints to sustainable growth and development,” he said.
The TUC believed that Ghana could achieve sustainable economic development if consensus was built among key stakeholders through genuine social partnership.
The statement reminded the government of its negotiations for the 2021 and 2022 base salary at which it agreed to the salary increases of four and seven percent respectively on the condition that the government does not declare any layoffs in the civil service and that the government continues to employ young people. in the public service.
“We would like the government to note that the working people of Ghana will do whatever it takes to prevent unnecessary hardship being imposed on them and the good people of Ghana,” he said.