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The outgoing World Bank Country Director, Pierre Frank Laporte, is challenging claims of not doing enough to prevent Ghana from getting into its recent economic crises.

Ghana’s economic challenges in recent times led the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to classify the country as debt distressed, after the two institutions carried out their Debt Sustainability Analysis on Ghana.

Macroeconomic indicators such as inflation crossed 50%, while government was forced to undertake debt restructuring due to its inability to meet debt obligations.

 “Maybe government did not heed to our advice in terms of what they had to do to prevent the economy from going into that direction”, Mr. Laporte said.

He was speaking on PM Express Business edition with host George Wiafe on December 21, 2023. 

He explained that the World Bank can only offer advice to sovereign nations and not impose economic policies on countries.

“We can advise. It is government decision to take the advice or not. One thing I can assure you is that we did everything in our power to prevent Ghana from getting to that state, he disclosed.

 Mr. Laporte rejected arguments that they could have used World Bank project funds, and other financial support meant for the country to put pressure on government to change direction in managing the economy.

He however rejected that assertion emphasising that decisions approved by the World Bank Board for projects cannot be changed in the host nation.

“I cannot sit in Ghana here and say that funds should not be approved”, he stressed.

 “I am not the type of Country Director who will also go out in public and events criticise a government. I will rather do my criticisms in meetings and the boardrooms which will really get the results”.

He maintained that his tenure of office cannot be judged by how often he criticised the government of Ghana in public since that was not part of his duties.

Sustaining recent gains

Mr. Laporte advised government to be strict on fiscal discipline to ensure that recent gains are sustained.

“It’s very important to focus critically on fiscal discipline, especially in an election year to ensure that the recovery that the economy is witnessing is not affected”.

Despite the recovery, he warned that things could get out of hand, if the necessary measures are not instituted.

“The World Bank also stands ready to support the country to ensure that the recent gains impact on the livelihood of Ghanaians”, he said.