With or without E-levy, Ghana will be going to IMF – Sulemana Braimah

The Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, says per the current state of the economy, it is inevitable that government will seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Government has told citizens it would not seek financial assistance from the IMF but implement the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy) to enable it to generate enough revenue for its expenditure.

But Mr Braimah is of the assertion that regardless of the approval or rejection of the E-levy, the Ghana government will request assistance from the IMF.

He argued that this is because the “economy is collapsed”, a devastating situation he believes must not be blamed on the Covid-19 pandemic, but rather, corruption and mismanagement of the country’s resources.

In a tweet on March 1, he wrote: “With or without E-Levy, Ghana will be going to IMF. The economy is collapsed. Don’t blame COVID. COVID did not happen only in Ghana. All countries, including our neighbours, were affected by COVID. It’s all because of corruption, mismanagement and PR governance.”

In Mr Sulemana Braimah’s previous submissions, he questioned why the government is hesitant about going to the International Monetary Fund to seek economic assistance.

He asserted that government’s hesitation stems from the major restrictions the IMF will impose on its “wasteful expenditures” on family and friends and luxurious jets.

Speaking on the matter, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has insisted that the repercussion of seeking an IMF bailout will not be favourable for the country’s fortunes.

Interacting with citizens in Tamale during a Townhall meeting, he assured that government will resort to “homegrown” alternatives such as the E-levy to boost the economy.

“Consequences are dire, we are a proud nation, we have the resources, we have the capacity. We are not people of short-sight, but we have to move on,”

I can say; we are not going to the IMF. Whatever we do, we are not… So let’s think of who we are as strong proud people, the shining star of Africa, and we have the capacity to do whatever we want to do if we speak one language and ensure that we share the burden in the issues ahead,” he said.

Sharing a similar perspective, Country Representative of the International Monetary Fund, Dr. Albert Touna Mama, noted that the present state of Ghana’s economy does not require an urgent economic programme from the Fund.

According to him, although an IMF programme is a good one for the short term, it is not sustainable if drastic policy measures are not followed.

“We all agreed that the IMF programme may not be the path for the government now and therefore I will call on stakeholders including the government to focus attention on the reforms and policies. This is because an IMF programme may be a short term solution.”

But according to Joy Business, the IMF has indicated its readiness to extend support to Ghana if a request is made for program support.

“As always, the IMF stands ready to support Ghana in any way deemed useful by the authorities,” parts of the mail by IMF to JoyBusiness over calls for government to seek support read.

The IMF, however, disclosed that “The Ghanaian authorities have not requested a programme with the IMF.”

Currently, government has suspended the withdrawal and re-laying of a revised E-levy Bill. Government through the Finance Ministry is considering a reduction of the current rate of the Electronic Transaction Levy (e-levy) further downwards.

The Finance Minister earlier noted that the E-levy to be passed by government would be at a rate of 1.75%. Following opposition from the Minority in Parliament and members of the general public, government proposed that the levy would be at 1.5%. But this was also rejected by the Minority.

Source: myjoyonline.com

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