Business News of 2014-05-15

Don’t neglect IMF – Economic Forum participants tell govt

Some participants at the National Economic Forum are warning government against neglecting the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to them, neglecting the fund would be at the country's own disadvantage.

There have been some serious agitations against government turning to the IMF for support. For instance some pressure groups like the Trades Union Congress (TUC) who is attributing the current challenges facing the economy due to the advice from the IMF.

But Joy News’ George Wiafe who is covering the on-going Forum reports that most participants believed compared with private public partnership, resorting to the Fund is the best option for the country. This is one of the proposals that came up at the Forum by one of the groups participating in the meetings.

The group maintain that the way the Fund is been demonized is just not fair. They maintained that as long as the country remains member of the International Monetary Fund, there are opportunities for it to benefit from technical assistance in the area of revenue mobilization and taxes.

They explained that if the Fund approves the economic management of a country as doing well, that alone is better for the image of the country than turning out for a loan from a commercial bank or a private investor.

According to them, the nation already gets technical assistance and other supports from the Fund and did not see the problem in turning to them for support in times of need.

Meanwhile, a source close to government has told Joy Business going to the Fund would be good for the country, because of the signals to investors that Ghana is working with International Monetary Fund to address the current challenges facing the economy.

“The current programs that we are implementing are even tougher than what the International Monetary Fund is likely to propose, so why don't we go to the FUND and get some financial assistance, whiles we work to stabilize the economy. Meanwhile, participants are also suggesting a one-stop shop for investors coming into the country.

Currently, before an investor can operate in the country, the investor has to go through processes at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre as well as the Free Zone Board. The operations of all these institutions should be merged so that registering a company in the country would be made simple.

Also at the Forum, there have been calls on parliament to play active role in the management of the economy by doing more to check executive spending. Most of them were convinced the executive are overspending because some of their items are overpriced. They therefore want a mechanism to review executive spending.

An economist at the University of Cape Coast, John Gatsi charged those in authority to give frequent information to Ghanaians as well as regularly review important economic issues.

In a related development, there are also proposals to streamline the role of our development partners to rather buy into the country's home-grown program rather than they dictating to Ghana what to do.

Joy Business however gathers these are just proposals that would have to be subjected to some discussion before it is adopted at the national Economic Forum.

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