A Vicious Cycle of Gross Bipartisan Economic Mismanagement

Feature Article A Vicious Cycle of Gross Bipartisan Economic Mismanagement
JUL 2, 2022 LISTEN

He knew perfectly well when in February of this year, Ghana’s Finance Minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta assured the nation and the rest of the Global Ghanaian Community and, indeed, the Global African Community at large, that there was absolutely no likelihood of the present Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) returning the country to the twin Bretton-Woods establishments of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (IBRD) for economic assistance anytime soon.

Now, it sadly turns out that the Columbia and Yale universities-educated Birem Source-drinking Akyemkwaa did not know even half of what he was talking about, when the cofounder of the landmark Ghana Databank investment establishment pontifically insisted that Ghanaians belonged to a nation of proud and ingenious people who were endowed with the means of devising meaningful, progressive and foresighted solutions to their own problems. Now, we are soberly confronted with an official press release signed by Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, telling us that President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently initiated a telephone conversation with Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing-Director of the IMF, in which the legendary “Little Man from Kyebi” conveyed Ghana’s avid desire to “engage with the Fund.”

Now, what the latter phrase clearly means is that, once again, Ghana has decided that its present leadership cannot effectively harness the country’s own quite considerable economic resources for its salutary development, as has been the case innumerable times in the recent past; and that we, as a nation, will be all too willing to literally surrender that bit of our nominal sovereignty that has given us quite a considerable modicum of pride for a mess of the kind of national “devolution” exercise, euphemistically tagged as the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), that Procrustean strait-jacket “remodeling” of our economy that literally culminated in the irreparable “Deindustrialization” of our country and the complete dismantling of our country’s seminal development base for most of the 1990s, which resulted in the effective dissolution of the latter and what has been bitterly and painfully characterized as the “Donkomization” of the Kwame Nkrumah-established Ghana Industrial Holdings Corporation, originally comprised of some 107 factories and industrial plants.

The problem that we have here is that, historically, the IMF-World Bank establishment was almost exclusively established to bail out the Euro-Western countries and economies that suffered blistering and massive damage in the aftermath of the Nazi-provoked World War II, at the same time – and this aspect of the mission of the Bretton-Woods establishment would come later on, with the massive “decolonization” of most of what would become designated as the Third World – that the IMF and the World Bank were practically mandated to ensure the perennial, if not the eternal, maintenance of the status quo, insofar as what the famous Nigerian novelist and thinker, Prof. Chinua Achebe, once picturesquely described as the “Horse-Rider Relationship” between the Euro-Aryan West and the rest of the world or the so-called international community.

Now, it really does not matter, contrary to what Mr. Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the ruling New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for the Effutu Constituency, in the Central Region, who also doubles as the Deputy Parliamentary Majority Leader, would have the rest of the membership of the Global Ghanaian Community believe, how any Third World country or economy resorts to IMF-World Bank assistance, the end result has almost invariably been the same, except for that one temporally limited moment in the early 2000s, when that super-special economic or debt bailout program called HIPC – or Aid for Highly Indebted Poor Countries – was opportunely tapped into by the newly elected President John Agyekum-Kufuor and his New Patriotic Party government with fairly resonant success.

That rarefied economic bailout and admittedly progressive restructuring program was supposed to have permanently weaned Ghana off the vampiric tentacles and clutches of the Bretton-Woods establishment. But that was not to be, unfortunately, as the post-Kufuor kleptocratic and Judgment-Debt-addicted regime of the National Democratic Congress had to, once again, resort to the IMF for financial assistance, with stringent conditionalities that ensured that the country’s economy would not significantly improve or expand to adequately cater to the needs of a fast-growing population. At any rate, in spite of the fact that, indeed, the Akufo-Addo Administration has implemented as well as resuscitated and significantly improved more social-intervention programs than any other Fourth-Republican government, the incontrovertible fact still remains that there exists roughly the same level of gross economic mismanagement as before, anytime that a government of the day proves to be woefully incapable of managing the affairs of the country within the limits of its available financial and fiscal resources.

This phenomenon of gross managerial incompetence on the part of governments is neither peculiar nor the especial preserve of Third World governments, by the way. Many of the governments of the most industrially and technologically advanced countries and economies are even more guilty of such gross managerial underperformance or incompetence. And this is precisely why the present government has decided to solicit economic assistance from the Bretton-Woods establishment (Read More: 'Russia-Ukraine war, covid-19 pushed us to IMF but NDC went due to mismanagement' — Afenyo-Markin jabs Minority - 7/1/22).

The fact of the matter is that absolutely no studious observer of the present government would deny the fact that President Akufo-Addo has curiously and, some would even say, capriciously passed up too many opportunities to rein in the widely acknowledged high spate of official corruption and the gross mismanagement of the country’s resources. We obviously need a seismic and radical paradigmatic leadership shift and change, pronto! On the New Patriotic Party side, I sincerely do not espy any better and more administratively competent pair of leaders than Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia and Education Minister Yaw Osei Adutwum going into the 2024 Presidential Election. And on the National Democratic Congress’ side, Mr. Augustus “Goosie” Obuadum Tanoh, so far, may be the storm-perfect medicine that the proverbial doctor ordered. As I see it, all the rest of the usual familiar faces on the podium are mostly politically superannuated and jaded horses who are apt to create more problems and liabilities for our beloved country than be counted upon to resolve the same.

*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

July 1, 2022

E-mail: [email protected]

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