Some participants at the final outdoor event of the Citi Business Festival named the ‘Economic Outlook’ have urged government to incorporate the views of civil society groups and labour into national policies even as it works to achieve the targets set by the International Monetary Fund(IMF).
The Trades Union Congress(TUC) and the Private Enterprise Federation(PEF) which were part of the event criticized government for ignoring their views to lessen the burden that was imposed on ordinary Ghanaians due to the implementation of the IMF conditions.
The panel at the forum was made up of Deputy Finance Minister, Charles Adu Boahene, former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, Head of Research at the Trades Union Congress Kwabena Otoo, CEO of the Private Enterprise Federation Nana Osei Bonsu as well as the Head of the Economics Department at the University of Ghana, Prof. Peter Quartey.
Speaking as part of a panel discussion, the Head of Research at the TUC, Kwabena Otoo expressed worry about the constant neglect of the views of labour due to the government’s desire to achieve the IMF targets without examining its impact on ordinary Ghanaians.
He pointed out for example that all attempts to get government to input the views of labour to give some relief to ordinary Ghanaians always proved futile.
“We fill that once your government goes into an IMF, then all conversations internally about how we move the economy to higher trajectory seizes because the government officials no longer listen to anybody in the country. They only listen to the IMF. The targets become more like a biblical commandment that everybody must fix and that for us is not good enough,” he said.
The effect, Mr. Otoo stated always left labour and civil society organizations in a struggle with government.
PEF demands sustainable projects
On his part, the President of the Private Enterprise Federation, Nana Osei-Bonsu charged government to invest in projects that will have the capacity to refinance loans acquired to build such facilities.
Reacting to assertions that government is now investing in sustainable projects, Nana Osei-Bonsu questioned the sustainability of the projects that have been left idle even though the state is still paying the loans acquired to put up such projects.
“If we continue to borrow, do we put them in sustainable opportunities that create returns. The one exception that the minister mentioned is the airport terminal three which is going to pay for itself. What about all the other borrowings, where did they go, did they create the jobs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper emphasized the need to revisit the methods used to refinance past government projects.
“The issue is to borrow smartly, that is how come the phrase Smart Borrowing. How do other countries borrow smartly? That is the issue as far as I am concerned. We can learn from our own experiences such as the Akosombo Dam paying for itself. Tema Harbor and others are good examples of projects paying for itself,” he said.
On his part, Professor Quartey, stated that the IMF programme has brought some positive achievements in the debt reprofiling of the country.
By: Lawrence Segbefia/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana