By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
Following the formal and official declaration of the intention of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) to seek economic assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, a former Energy and Employment minister under President John Agyekum-Kufuor, told a local Ghanaian radio station that he did not believe that the Mahama government had the requisite disciplinary capacity to wisely and constructively appropriate any development funds that the Washington, DC-based financial institution may avail the country (See “Ghana Likely to Mismanage IMF Funds – Nduom” Citifmonline.com 10/6/14).
We must also quickly note that as of this writing, the founding-proprietor of the so-called Progressive People’s Party (PPP), a splinter faction of the rump-Convention People’s Party (r-CPP), had thoroughly reversed his opinion. We shall deal with Dr. Nduom’s 180-degree reversal of opinion in due course. The preceding notwithstanding, it also bears observing that Dr. Nduom’s initially bleak assessment of fiscal discipline of the government of the National Democratic Congress was staunchly backed and/or affirmed by the globally renowned and respected rating agency called Fitch.
But even more significant are the excruciatingly insufferable experiences of Ghanaian citizens under the odious IMF-World Bank-sponsored Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) during the Jerry John Rawlings government. Indeed, so extortionate was Structural Adjustment, as the program widely became known throughout the 1980s and 1990s, that Mr. Rawlings’ government came to be sardonically associated with something called “Rawlings’ Necklace.” The latter was the economic equivalent of the erstwhile Apartheid South Africa’s Black-on-Black lynching regime that became globally known as “Necklacing,” whereby Africans suspected of espionage in the predominantly indigenous Black townships had vehicular tyres/tires hanged around their necks and set alight by Black nationalist vigilantes.
It is also significant to note that even as I write, the Mahama government’s fiscal integrity is being hotly debated by officials of the World bank, in particular regarding cooked figures purportedly reflecting the country’s economic growth. It is also rather risible to hear President Mahama pontifically assert that his plea for a bailout by the IMF would be the last for Ghana. This is rather curious, for it presupposes the intention of the Ghanaian leader to entrench himself in the seat of power in the foreseeable future. Whether he succeeds in doing so, or not, remains to be seen. Gauging by the track-record of his own political party, the so-called National Democratic Congress, it clearly does not appear that President Mahama knows even half of what he is talking about.
For instance, telling a plenary session of the United Nations’ General Assembly that his government would be guided by past experiences of failed fiscal discipline, must have sounded like the proverbial broken record to those global financial experts who have been studiously following Ghanaian leaders hopelessly bungle one IMF-World Bank bailout opportunity after another.