afrol News, 19 February - Napoleon Kpoh, Secretary-General of Ghana's influential Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), has strongly criticised the African privatisation agenda of the IMF and World Bank. Pointing to privatisation experiences in Ghana, Mr Kpoh says that there were "no positive results to point at."
Mr Kpoh is also the Regional President for Africa of the Union Network International (UNI-Africa). He made his negative assessment of the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a statement regarding the current crisis in Zambia, putting the blame on the IMF.
The Ghanaian trade union leader said he now wanted to meet country representatives of the IMF and the World Bank to see how the current negative trends could be changed for workers. "These two institutions are partners of every government in Africa," commented Mr Kpoh.
The ICU leader emphasised that the IMF and World Bank had been saying privatisation in Ghana was a success story yet there were "no positive results to point at." On the contrary, holds Mr Kpoh, Ghana had only ended up a heavily indebted nation.
- After 20 years since we embarked on privatisation in 1983, of sincere, honesty and fulfilling conditionalities of the IMF and World Bank, these two institutions trumpeted on roof tops of all capital cities of the world that Ghana is a success story of privatisation and Structural Adjustment Programme, Mr Kpoh said. "But I am very ashamed for the same institutions to turn around to declare Ghana a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC)," he added.
- What is the result of 20 years of the Structural Adjustment Programme, what is the result of 20 years of privatisation and sacrifices of Ghanaian workers? he asked. The trade union leader answers his own question by saying that "if HIPC was the result of the 20 years of workers' sacrifices then the prescription was a total betrayal of the country."
Mr Kpoh in particular criticised the conditionality in IMF and World Bank credits, meaning that countries need to privatise to assure international loans. "I speak against conditionality any where in the world because it does not work. I would like the IMF to show us a country in the world where through their conditionality, development has been achieved," said the ICU leader.
He added that development was only achieved by a country mobilising its own financial and material resources and by bringing all citizens on board. African government should look at Ghana's experience, he said. "We never faltered on any conditionality because we had a brutal military government, but 20 years on we were forced to declare our country a HIPC," he said.
Mr Kpoh has headed ICU, Ghana's largest trade union, for 13 years, also during the Jerry Rawlings dictatorship, when he was briefly arrested several times. He was re-elected as ICU leader to a new four-year term in August last year in a controversial vote, boycotted by most of ICU's members in financial institutions.
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