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IMF $3B loan: Thought leadership needed to achieve the Ghana we want – Agumenu

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Leadership and governance expert, Dr Donald Agumenu, has admonished Ghanaians not to be overly excited at the news that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed at staff level to grant US$3 billion credit facility to the government to cushion against current economic problems.

He said Ghana’s problems cannot fully be solved by the arrival of the IMF credit facility, saying a pragmatic thought leadership is needed to plan and achieve “realistic, attainable and socially driven economic and industrial policies.”

“What is our short, medium and long-term plan for this crisis? IMF, World Bank, African Development Bank or what? History has shown us that this could only be a contingency approach. These institutions can buy you emergency breakfast, lunch or partner you in contractual marriage but may not necessarily make you economically buoyant and financially independent,” Dr Agumenu observed.

In his estimation, Ghana needs a plan that would be benchmarked on sustainable economic policies, poverty alleviation, agricultural revolution, industrialization, export-driven economy through value addition and good governance.

The special aide to late President Rawlings said an inflation rate of 50.3%, a debt to GDP ratio of over 100% with the country being locked out of the international fiscal market paint a bleak future, emploring on all citizens to join the call for thought leadership and other credible innovative ways to avert the situation and actualize the Ghana we want.

According to Dr. Agumenu, the time for thought leadership is now and the leadership should not wait any longer as it is critical the country “should be navigated through time tested experiences, critical guidance and insights to managing  change and complexities of our failing society.”

He added, “This is the time for ingenious industrialists and captains of industry with credible reputations to get involved in the solution mechanisms.”

“It’s manifestly clear that our existing economic policies and programmes don’t only lack the critical ingredients necessary to transform our society but also the resilience to withstand external shocks and macro economic complexities. How can we be importing almost everything including food and yet dream of economic sustainability and strong currency?”

Dr. Agumenu drew parallels with international business brands such as Apple, Samsung, Shell, Toyota,  Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Diageo, etc, calling them sources of foreign exchange into the economies of their respective countries. He said it was time Ghana propped up its indigenous companies and position them to grow and expand into other markets outside the country.

He added, “a deliberate policy is needed to be sure of an upscale in foreign exchange earnings into the country going forward.”

“I don’t think we can continue this way. The society is getting hypertensive; high stress levels, job losses, health and domestic crises are on the rise, businesses are collapsing etc. Leadership must go beyond these contingency approaches and look for an inclusive solution involving expertise from opposition parties,” he pointed out.

Dr. Agumenu said, though he is in tune with globalisation and economic integration, he believes strongly that,  “we are where we are because our local industries are either collapsing or not doing well, with all of them yet to be represented at the real global market space.”

He has therefore called on the youth and women to be resolute in their actions and inactions towards choosing leaders so that our gold, cocoa, timber and other raw materials are properly harnessed for social development.

Dr. Agumenu who happens to be a Senior Fellow at the Centre For African Diplomacy and Global Engagement (Afro- Global)  also suggested to Parliament to consider granting observer status to civil society organisations, Trades Union Congress, the clergy and a permanent seat for the National House of Chiefs to be fully represented in the legislative chamber.

He said the presence of those stakeholder groups could be crafted so that their inputs are part of a larger collective policy framework for effective implementation.

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