The Akufo-Addo government, will today, July 4, 2022 flood every available media space in the country with Ministers of State to speak on its decision to dash to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout.
Strangely, the man who has been in-charge of the country’s economic planning and dishing out money from the public purse; Ken Ofori-Atta, is missing from the list of ministers which include, Usurla Owusu-Ekuful of Communications Ministry, Matthew Opoku Prempeh of Energy Ministry, who would be on Oman FM and UTV respectively.
There are several soundbites of the Finance Minister, which have gone viral, saying emphatically that the Akufo-Addo government was not going to the IMF for a bailout.
It appears, he is too embarrassed to face his demons, including the many damning verdict pronounced on his economic management decisions and claims that he has been running a “one man show” at the ministry he had been since 2017.
In welcoming the decision by President Akufo-Addo to go for an IMF bailout, ex-President John Dramani Mahama noted that “it is imperative that a team of skilled and competent negotiators is put together to obtain the best set of measures with the Fund”.
According to the opposition leader “the Finance Minister who has supervised the disastrous collapse of the economy cannot and should not be part of the team of negotiators”, adding “he has lost credibility and the trust and confidence of stakeholders in our economy”.
It’s unclear if Mr Mahama’s comments accounts for the Finance Minister’s absence.
But there are credible media reports that he has refused to be part of the Government’s Economic Management Team (EMT) led by Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
The Vice-President is reported to have disagreed with the Finance Minister who is a cousin of the President by kicking against the E-Levy, the construction of the National Cathedral currently priced at US$450 million, the Agyapa Royalties deal among others by Mr Ofori-Atta, who has been mandated by President Akufo-Addo to lead the talks with the officials of the IMF.
Also missing from the list is former Finance Minister now turned Presidential advisor, Yaw Osafo Marfo, a former Senior Minister, who is very powerful in the Akufo-Addo administration.
A list titled “GoG engagement with IMF” has the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, as appearing on Citi Breakfast Show and TV3 over the IMF bailout which he announced on behalf of the government last Friday.
In what appears to be a crisis management, the Ministers are to be appearing on the media platforms from today till Wednesday to obviously douse the avalanche of criticism from economists, lecturers, Civil Society leaders, politicians, including the National Democratic Congress (NDC) whose leader, John Mahama, was bashed and branded lazy and incompetent by the now ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) for also going to the IMF for a bailout in 2015.
But many are suggesting that, instead of the TV and radio stations appearances to do political equalization, President Akufo-Addo, must cut down on the number of his appointees, including Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Special Assistants, CEOs, cronies, family and friends in the government.
It is also suggested to him that he stops the wasteful expenditures, especially on the National Cathedral and the renting of luxurious private jets from Europe for his trips abroad and his taste for luxury and excessive comfort than his safety.
The country has an executive jet which is sitting idle or sometimes given out to some Presidents in the West African sub-region to fly around on their official trips abroad, however, Ghana’s President refused to use it, complaining of his inability to freshen up, change clothes and sleep during long haul trips abroad.
Whilst Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen, will be on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen in the afternoon, Lands Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, will be appearing on UTV’s late evening programme,
The list coming from the government’s communication team led by Oppong-Nkrumah, asked that Dan Botwe, who is the Local Government Minister be on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo morning show hosted by Kwami Sefa Kayi, today.
Education Minister, Yaw Adu Twum, will be on Adom FM.
These appearances are to continue on Tuesday, but Wednesday will see most of them appearing on radio and TV stations outside Accra.
Oppong-Nkrumah will be on Sky Power FM in Takoradi, Abu Jinapor, will be on Radio Justice in Tamale, Adu Twum, will be on Ahotor FM in Kumasi, Opoku Prempeh, will be on Pure FM in Kumasi, Alan Kyerematen will be on Kesben FM in Kumasi, Dan Botwe will be on Akyemansa Radio in Oda, Usurla Owusu will be apearing on Agoo FM at Nkawkaw, the Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, Ignatius Bafour Awuah will be on Sky in Sunyani with Mr Joseph Cudjoe, also on Connect FM in Takoradi.
Below is what Mr Mahama posted on his Facebook wall early Saturday morning about President Akufo-Addo’s decision to opt for the IMF bailout.
“I welcome President Akufo-Addo’s decision to formally engage the IMF with the view to entering into a programme under the Fund.
“Though belated, it should mark an important step towards addressing the dire economic situation, which has left Ghanaians wallowing under intense suffering and hardships.
“Beyond the announcement of engagement with the IMF, a comprehensive home-grown programme should be fashioned out and presented to the Fund for support. It is imperative that a team of skilled and competent negotiators is put together to obtain the best set of measures with the Fund.
“The Finance Minister who has supervised the disastrous collapse of the economy cannot and should not be part of the team of negotiators. He has lost credibility and the trust and confidence of stakeholders in our economy.
“President Akufo-Addo must take a bold decision to replace his finance minister immediately with a more assured and competent person who is willing and able to work tirelessly to turn our almost hopeless situation around.
“In addition, given his obvious failures, the Vice President must be relieved of his responsibility as Chair of the Economic Management Team to enable the President to reconstitute the team.
“We must draw useful lessons from this episode and avoid cheap politicking with the economy; that can only yield the disastrous outcomes that have brought us here.