Presidential aspirant, Papa Nduom talks tough
The candidate of the Progressive People’s Party in the forthcoming presidential elections in Ghana, Papa Kwesi Nduom has emphatically declared that the current state of affairs in which Ghana periodically runs to the International Monetary Fund, IMF in search of solutions for the economic turnaround of the West African nation would cease should he be voted in as President on December 7.
Nduom who is having a running battle with the Electoral Commission over his earlier disqualification to contest the elections which is still the subject of court proceedings, is however forging ahead and believing that he will yet be successful at the polls.
Addressing members of the Trade Union of Ghana (TUC) on Wednesday in Accra, the businessman-turned-politician asserted that the Bretton Woods institution was only there for countries that had run out of ideas and have nowhere else to turn to for solutions to their economic challenges.
“What can they tell us that we don’t know about?” he quizzed, adding “There are a lot of things that they [IMF] will tell us that we don’t want so what we know must be done and PPP administration will do it without having someone to tell us.”
It will be recalled that Ghana’s more recent relations with the IMF and World Bank dates back to 1981 when a parliamentary delegation was sent to the United States to hold talks with the institution over the nation’s economic problems.
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, then a Member of Parliament (MP) was part of the delegation.
The result of the discussion was the decision by the country to go through the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) from 1983 to 1992.
The neo-liberal programme was both economic and political in nature. It came with specific prescriptions linked to the conditional loan doled out to the country.
SAP was tied to the implementation of market-oriented policies such as trade liberalization, privatization, and fiscal discipline.
Some scholars have described the programme as a bitter pill forced down the throat of African countries.
Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia, Robert Fatton had said in 1992 that SAPs were a hindrance rather than a form of assistance due to the “global capitalist” economies behind the loan process.
Ghana was again to run to IMF in 2001 for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative of the institution under the erstwhile President Kufuor government. The programme saw the country receiving about $3.7 billion in debt relief between 2001 to 2004.
Recently also, the governing National Democratic Congress had again gone to the Bretton Woods institution seeking help and credibility for the country’s economy.
Although President John Mahama has described the decision to go to IMF as painful, he said it was necessary to put the economy of Ghana in the best shape.
He said Ghana would wean itself from the Fund’s support at the end of the three-year programme which ends in 2017.
But Dr Nduom said the rate at which the country turns to the IMF for help is most embarassing.
“We will turn to ourselves and if we need to make sacrifices we will talk and decide on that,” he said.
He cited a situation in which the World Bank decided not to support the people of Korea with funds because the government had planned to use the money for the construction of giant ships and industries.
General Park Chung Hee who was then the leader of Korea was not deterred, but forged ahead and generated the needed funds to build the ships and industries which are serving the people and the world today, he noted.
“As for us we like what is easy and what is easy is that we write a paper go to Washington and bamboozle them to get some money,” he said, adding “it is about time we stop going there and rely on the wonderful brains God has given us in Ghana,” he enthused.
Papa Kwesi Nduom