ICU demands clarification on extending IMF deal

The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) has implored government not to extend its Extended Credit Facility program with the IMF to December 2018.

The ICU says the move could cause a further restriction in the economy and hinder job opportunities.

Ghana entered into a three-year program with the IMF on April 2015 for a total amount of 918 million US dollars which was expected to be disbursed in eight equal tranches.

The programme also aims at restoring debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability in the country to foster a return to high growth and job creation, while protecting social spending.

The government recently confirmed it is considering extending the IMF program from March 2018 to December of the same year.

But this has received a lot of backlash from numerous labour unions.

In an interview with Citi Business News, General Secretary of the ICU, Solomon Kotei who expressed worry over government’s deliberation said the move will create further hardship should it be finalized.

“Government is the largest employer in this country and at the moment no recruitment is going on anywhere. Are we extending the no recruitment or they are going for an extension that will permit us to see some recruitment occur? We have to know the terms and conditions under which this facility is going to be undertaken because at the end of this it is your tax and mine that will be used to pay the loan and its interest.” he said.

He lamented on the poor performance of the IMF in its failure to revamp ailing economies.

“Anywhere we have been to in this world, we are yet to have a showcase of a country where IMF has gone and the well-being of the people has been improved.” he stated.

Mr Kotei further asked government to rethink its decision to avoid further downturn of the economy.

“…We understand you are going for extension, fine; but the extensions are they coming with the same conditionalities? Are they coming with the same strings? If the extension is coming with soft conditionalities then we will appreciate that. But if not then no.” he emphasized.

The IMF programme

Ghana in 2015 signed onto a 918 million dollar extended credit facility programme with the fund. Ghana has so far received a total of about US$464.6 million as disbursements from the IMF.

The latest was on September 28, 2016.

The deal which was not approved by Parliament has been heavily criticized by the new government, raising concerns that it will be reviewed under their tenure.

Calls for the renegotiation of the deal, however, have attracted mixed reactions from economists.


Source: Citi business news