LGBTQI+ issue ‘unseen conditionality’ delaying IMF deal – Economics
classfmonline.comMar 20, 2023 10:54 AM
An economist and senior lecturer at Wisconsin International University College, Dr Worlanyo Mensah, has said the Board of the International Monetary Fund may be delaying its approval of the $3 billion extended credit facility to Ghana because there may be hidden conditionalities Ghana has not met.
According to Dr Worlanyo, one such hurdle is Ghana’s entrenched anti-LGBTQ+ stance.
Speaking on the Class Morning Show on Monday, 20 March 2023, on whether or not the collapse of certain banks in the USA and Switzerland would affect Ghana’s chances of clinching an IMF deal, Dr Worlanyo suggested the finance ministry go back to the drawing board and the nation revisit its decisions and see how best to lobby internationally.
He told show host Koku Lumor: “We need to appreciate the fact that the government has taken the initiative to embrace the IMF bailout looking at the economic difficulties that faces us as a country, where they think that there is nothing they can do and the only way is to resort to the IMF”.
“We are now at the staff-level agreement and this staff-level agreement is the final stage of the bailout pending just the approval from the board. And I believe, by and large, that we are seeing delays in these transactions simply because there are some conditionalities that are unseen, and which may equally affect us whether to have it earlier or not,” he hinted at.
One of the unseen conditionalities, according to him, is Ghana’s stance on LGBTQ+.
“For instance, the issue of LGBTQ+ is a major international factor which nobody will discuss but it’s an issue which is a string attached to this kind of bailouts, and, so, Ghana’s resistance in accepting the LGBTQI+ may also have a way of delaying the whole process,” he stated.
Apart from that, he noted that the government’s inability to heed certain pieces of advice from managers of the Fund, may also delay the deal.
“When you also look at the IMF’s advice on certain economic policies, for instance, if the IMF says we should increase utility tariffs by 50 or 60 per cent which government knows very well that that is unbearable and unrealistic but then the government decides to roll it out; 30 per cent, you’ll realise that IMF will not be too much enthused about the government’s position and, so, these are all factors which are not loudly discussed but these are realities on the ground and, so, the government might even be compelled to increase utilities in the coming days or coming months”, he indicated.
“Without these, it is likely that our expectation is likely to be in limbo. I believe the finance ministry, together with the relevant sectors, should really come back to the drawing board, let’s revisit these decisions and see how best we can lobby internationally”, he added.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta left Accra for China on Sunday, 19 March 2023, as part of efforts by Ghana to secure debt forgiveness from the Asian giant to whom the West African gold producer owes $1.7 billion of its total of $5-plus billion owed the Paris Club.
Mr Ofori-Atta is transiting Addis Ababa en route to Beijing.
Coinciding with the minister’s trip is a Paris Club meeting on Tuesday over Ghana’s external debt restructuring programme.
Incidentally, there are also three critical bills before parliament that must be passed by parliament on Thursday to enable Ghana to secure a board-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
They are the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, the Excise Duty and Excise Tax Stamp (Amendment) Bills and the Growth and the Sustainability Levy Bill.