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Return to IMF: Review of Free SHS, PFJ; freeze on employment imminent – Navrongo MP

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The Member of Parliament for Navrongo Central, Sampson Chiragiaa Tangombu has said that while he has been vindicated about the government’s stance on the return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he is worried about the consequences of same.

Speaking on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper Show today, Monday, July 4, 2022, the legislator said the government may be compelled to review some of its flagship programmes; key among these are the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) and the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) policy.

He said if the Akufo Addo-led government had been one that listens to sound economic counsel, it would have right from the onset done policy targeting with the Free SHS.

Mr. Tamgombu explained that it was not economically sound for students whose parents could afford pricey private basic schools to school at public second-cycle institutions for free; a matter the IMF may not take kindly to.

“They [the IMF] are going to tell us to cut off all our subsidies. They would say our fertilizer subsidies should go off, NABCO payments terminated and the Free SHS should be revised. The last time I said that there was no need for parents to pay more to send your children to private schools paying about Ghc5,000 a month and if your child is now going to the SHS you want free education.”

“Employment would have to stop. This kind of every-year recruitment, they will definitely ask us to stop recruiting more so that we can manage our compensation budget,” he said.

He said the IMF may also take on the government for its oversized structure. This may begin with letting go of some of the persons occupying duplicated roles at the office of the president.

“They are bringing money. Even though we are all members and we contribute to it, they will give you money and want to sanitize your economy. So definitely, they would talk about expenditure cuts,” he said.

Amid protests over spiralling prices and the rising cost of living, the government of Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has reneged on its pledge not to borrow from the IMF after hitting the wall with its domestic economic recovery plan.

On 1 July President Akufo-Addo announced that he has instructed Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to open negotiations for a programme.

“The engagements with the IMF will seek to provide balance of payment as part of a broader effort to quicken Ghana’s build back in the face of challenges induced by the Covid-19 pandemic and, recently, the Russia-Ukraine crises,” a government statement said.

Until now, the government had ruled out the option of an IMF programme, settling for a homegrown economic recovery plan that included the introduction of a 1.5% tax on electronic financial transactions (E-levy) which sparked widespread protests.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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