A senior lecturer with the University of Ghana, Dr. Patrick Assuming, has predicted that severe hardships await Ghanaians in the coming months following a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The economist’s concerns come after the debt-ridden West African country received $600 million few days ago from IMF.
The amount, received on May 19,2023, is the first tranche of the $3 billion three-year extended credit support for Ghana from the Bretton Woods Institution.
Although the government believes the bailout will help balance the country’s economy, Dr. Assuming believes the conditions attached to the credit facility will make Ghanaians experience more hardships than what they are currently facing.
“ When you study the programme’s document, you will come to the conclusion that it’s really the start of a difficult journey, rather than an end to our problems. We have been to IMF 17 times, it seems to me that this particular programme is the one that will impose probably the heftiest hardships on Ghanaians,” Dr Assuming said on The Big issue programme on Citi FM.
Dr. Assuming charged the government not to rest on its oars but to ensure that structural changes are effected to move Ghana away from further severe economic crisis.
“If you look at the prior actions we have had to take in order to get here, you can readily tell, starting with the Domestic Debt Exchange (DDEP), you can tell the impact of the DDEP on financials of the banks. What we hope is that if we are paying this kind of hefty price, by way of what the DDEP has done, and the new taxes that we are going to pay… Ghanaians and businesses are going to pay a huge chunk aside from what we have already done, ” he added.
The Minority in Parliament on Thursday raised similar concerns about the IMF conditions.
Minority leader Dr Cassiel Ato Forson said in a statement that Ghanaians should brace themselves for more hardships under the IMF bailout.
The IMF has already identified the scrapping of tax exemptions, adjustment of levies on fuel, and an increase in income tax as some measures the Ghanaian government could implement to boost revenue mobilization under its $3 billion support programme.
This was contained in the Fund’s May 2023 country report on Ghana’s request for the $3 billion support programme.
The Minority believes if the government had heeded their call and went for a support programme earlier, this hardship could have been averted.
In reaction to this, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson said “Let us brace ourselves for the full consequences of this IMF deal, which will without doubt bite hard on Ghanaians, especially the youth.”
“This is not a counsel of despair, but a reality that will soon dawn on all of us,” he stated.