The Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) has expressed sadness about the decision of government to proceed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a financial bailout.
“The Trades Union Congress (TUC) considers this decision by government a tragic mistake and a sad one for Ghana,” it said in a statement signed by Secretary-General Dr Yaw Baah on Sunday, July 3.
“This will be the eighteenth time our country’s economy will be handed over to the IMF to manage. It is very sad because it is a clear indication that we cannot manage our own affairs.”
This comes in the wake of the announcement last Friday that Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta will begin official engagements with IMF as per instructions from President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The engagement is to provide balance of payment support as part of a broader effort to quicken Ghana’s recovery from the challenges of Covid-19 and, recently, the Russia-Ukraine war.
But the TUC said the recent development is a signal that the pre-Covid economy touted by government as strong was not resilient enough.
“It must have been built on a ‘foundation of straw’ but Ghanaians were told that our economy was strong and stable.
It is now very obvious that the economy of Ghana is in a desperate situation.”
Dr Baah’s statement predicts doom over the bailout being sought from IMF.
“These IMF programmes have only imposed unnecessary hardships on Ghanaians with practically nothing to show for them. The solutions proffered by the Fund are not appropriate for our economy. They scratch the edges of the problem without tackling the fundamental issues facing the economy.”
It said what the country needs now are measures that tackle the structural constraints to economic and social development.
“Those measures must include policies and programmes aimed at ending the domination of foreign companies in the most productive sectors of the economy, minimise our dependence on natural resources and build a robust manufacturing base.”
It said Ghanaians should rather prepare for more programmes with the IMF in the years to come.
TUC also expressed disgust that the government abandoned the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2019 between Social Partners to, inter alia, provide a post-IMF Extended Credit Facility local development partnership arrangement among Social Partners to ensure the irreversibility of macroeconomic gains.
“Our understanding of the unilateral decision by Government to commence engagements with IMF, without any consultation with the social partners, amounts to a declaration of the end of the social partnership initiated in 2019 with the above-mentioned objectives.”
TUC warned that it will not allow the imposition of any “needless hardships” on the working population of Ghana based on this unilateral decision.
The government negotiations are set to begin on Wednesday, July 6.