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"Gov't Still Needs E-Levy Despite IMF But Rate Must Be Lowered" – Prof. Quartey

Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, Professor Peter Quartey, has asked the government to consider reviewing the e-levy rate downwards as a way of making it easier for more people to pay.

He said this when asked whether the government should continue charging the e-levy after deciding to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for support, while speaking in an interview with TV3’s Alfred Ocansey on Friday July 1.

He called on Members of Parliament from both sides to sit and agree on how best to review the rate downwards after indicating that the government still needs the revenue.

Professor Quartey further told Ghanaians not to expect a rapid resolution of the economic challenges due to support of the IMF.

He said it may take sometime to witness the full benefits of the programme if the government goes ahead to seek the assistance of the Fund.

“The IMF work together with governments. Initially, the policies and everything were just handed over from Washington to the respective countries, this has changed now. You have to develop your own policies and engage with the IMF and they will tell you which ones to take out, which ones to add and then you come to a consensus, based on that they will say, we will fund your programme.

“That is done through balance of payment support. It may take time, in the case of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka announced they were going to the IMF and today, they haven’t finished the process,” he said.

The Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has been instructed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to commence engagements with the Fund.

This followed a telephone conversation between the President and the IMF Managing Director, Miss Kristalina Georgieva, conveying Ghana’s decision to engage with the Fund.

The Ministry of Information announced this in a statement on Friday July 1.

Several analysts have expressed their views on this matter.

For instance, a Former Finance Minister Mr Seth Terkper has asked stakeholders to now pay particular attention to the nature of proposal that the government will be submitting to the IMF.

Mr Terkper indicated that the engagement is not going to happen overnight.

It will take quite sometime before conclusions are made, he said.

“The Funds were clearly there and that is when we probably we could have gone earlier. I think that it is important to know that we are where we are and therefore we can focus on the proposal that government will be giving to the Fund. It is not a one week thing, government will definitely, may have to make proposals,” he told Paa Kwesi Asare on the News 360 on TV3 Friday July 1.

In the view of Mr Terkper, the decision to go to the Fund could have been made much earlier.

“I do agree with the sentiments that we could probably, have gone to the Fund much earlier and the situation would not have worsened,” he said.

The Dean of the Business School at the University of Cape Coast, Professor John Gatsi said that the decision to return to the Fund is an indication that the programmes and measures outlined by the government to deal with the economic challenges are not strong enough.

It also means that the management of the economy has been difficult for the government, he added.

Speaking in an interview with TV3’s Komla Adom on the mid day news Friday July 1, Prof Gatsi said “The decision is clear to all of us that Ghana is heading towards the IMF, officially from the President and then authenticated by Minister responsible for Information.

“It has implications, the implication is that the management of the economy has become very difficult, our programmes are not potent enough to deal with the challenges therefore we need credibility for our programmes, we need confidence to manage our economy and that confidence is not coming from the programmes and strategies of the government and that, the government believes that confidence to manage the economy can be procured from the IMF.”

A Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr John Kumah said an IMF programme would help the country to come out from the economic challenges faster.

He said the government hopes that the programme will benefit the country.

“Our objective as government is to restore confidence in the economy and rebound it from the difficulty, from the challenges, not only in Ghana but almost all economies around the world.

“We believe that where we stand now, an IMF intervention will help us come out quicker than we could. We hope that it will benefit the country,” he told TV3’s Komla Adom on the mid day news on Friday July 1.




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