Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper has disclosed that the National Economic Forum scheduled to commence today is not being held to receive new ideas on the management of the economy but only as a forum meant to seek an endorsement of policies the government has already adopted and presented to the International Monetary Fund, IMF.
Speaking to Joy FM, Mr. Terkper disclosed that the “Economic and Financial Policies For the Medium Term – 2014 – 2017” document, also known as the Ghana Home Grown Policy document had already been presented to Parliament and also to the IMF thus it was impossible for the National Economic Forum or anybody to change the contents and policies outlined in the document.
The under pressure Minister of Finance noted that rather, all the Economic Forum would seek to do is to receive comments on the policies contained in the document and to try to see how best to maximize the impact of those policies.
On whether they had distributed the medium term document to participants so they could form their views on it before coming to the Forum, Mr. Terkper said that had not been done and that the document will be distributed to participants on the first day of the Forum for them to study and use the remaining 3 days to comment on it.
Mr. Terkper had earlier made similar comments in an interview with Citi FM. “We have already discussed with the IMF what we want to do, so the people coming tomorrow are just coming to endorse what we have already agreed to do”, he told the station.
Mr. Terkper’s latest comments runs contrary to earlier comments and suggestions by the government which claimed that the forum was to be an open platform to receive ideas and fashion out a new way to economic stability and growth.
Deputy Minister of Information, Felix Ofosu-Kwakye speaking to Asempa FM before Mr. Terkper made these comments insisted that the forum was to receive new ideas although he suggested that because the medium term document had already been submitted detailing policies between 2014 and 2017, the forum would receive new ideas which can be implemented after 2018.
The latest revelation seem to conform with the New Patriotic Party’s position that the Economic Forum could not be a forum for a open deliberations and a presentation of alternative views on the management of the economy since the government has already adopted policies it would roll out between this year and 2017.
Key among the policies contained in the medium term document is a programme to retrench public sector employees as a way of cutting down the wage bill. Suggestions picked up from the NPP indicate that the party sees the National Forum as a deliberate scheme by the government to present the upcoming job cuts as one which arose out of consensus; a gimmick the party is unwilling to participate in.