The IMF Quicksand

The IMF, International Monetary Fund, provides funding to bail out governments whose economies are supposed to be in distress. This funding comes normally with conditions to the borrower. Conditions like removal of subsidies on agriculture and utilities, laying off of workers and freezing of salaries to cut the wage bill and sustain some form of prescribed structural adjustment. A quicksand is such that when you step on it, unknowingly or mistakenly, it sucks you in and the harder you struggle to come out of it, the deeper you sink into it. The IMF (and its cousin the World Bank) is like a quicksand, the harder you struggle to get out of its debts, the more you get into debts. There, they balance numbers on paper by unbalancing number of lives on the ground.

For example, when you remove subsidies on agriculture, it would result in more expensive food prices for laid off workers who cannot buy and for less paid workers who would under feed themselves and would not be able to look after their families and laid-off relatives. The result would be a malnourished and generally sick workforce that is unproductive and resorts to fraud to survive. Meanwhile, the interest on the loan from IMF grows to become larger than the amount borrowed and the government will have to go for more loans to pay for the interest, while the main amount borrowed remains to be generating more interest. So you the borrower will become a slave living in perpetual poverty.

We should not let the so-called global credit crunch (or is it developed countriesí credit crunch?) deceive us and lead us into the IMF quicksand. Please, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Rather, we should see the current situation as God-given opportunity to disentangle ourselves from this cycle of working and tightening our belts to service other peoplesí comfort. Provide us with all the facts and figures of the economy and we shall provide you with home-grown solutions that will put Ghana on the road to realistic economic independence. What will it take to make us see that we do not need IMF to develop? Please do not lead us into slavery and poverty by borrowing from IMF.

-Prof. S.E. Anku
President, Ghana Mathematics Society

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