As he bade farewell to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after nine years as Senior Economist, Mathew Sandy has committed himself towards managing the country’s debt without it being a burden on the economy. In an interview with Awoko Newspaper, the newly appointed Director of Public Debt at the Ministry of Finance Matthew Sandy said that he will use his knowledge and experience at the IMF to manage the country’s public debt. Sandy said, the area of debt management rest within his purview, for he has acquired a rounded knowledge working for both the IMF and the Ministry of Finance. “A few years ago, when the country was highly indebted, the main goal was to ask for debt relief, I was one of those who moved for the country’s debt reform which led to the removal of the burden on the debt distress of the country,” he said. Sandy furthered that the country is currently in high debt distress. However, I have a focus, and that is, one cannot ask for debt relief when your baggage has been exhausted. “The rate of debt distress has been very stiff over the years, and now we are back in it,” he said. “The approach is to look at the macro approach to debt management, and try to broaden the economic base, and that is one skill I have acquired … that is to manage debt without having a burden on the economy. He said, any new loan that is to be contracted, should have the proclivity on the economy faster than it will have the burden on the debt. He said, the proclivity should generate GDP, it should create foreign exchange, and should increase tax buoyancy.
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He furthered that “whenever there are new debts we hope to see the debt trajectory change or improve, and I believe am going to bring that on the table, and work closely with my colleagues at the Finance Ministry to achieve the desired goal.” “I have established good contact with the IMF, and am leaving there with a very good record, for I was fortunate to be awarded by Christine Laggard as an excellent staff at the IMF, and I was given a trophy,” he bluffed. “When the country was struck with Ebola in 2014, I was one of those who took bold steps to ask for debt relief, for it was a catastrophic event,” but that he said will not happen now, therefore, we should, as a nation be more responsible to take up the burden, by broadening our economy, pay our debt, lift up our head to the international community and stand proud to channel our own development aspirations. He further explained that he “was the one who formed a group of economists, to be able to assess the socio-economic impact Ebola has on the country’s economy, assess how it really affects the economy, and identify some of the risks, and the report we wrote was laid in Parliament with the 2015 budget, and that report helped to channel the story, and contributed to all of the assistance that came in.” “I am a humble person, and I will understudy the Ministry, and work closely with my colleagues, and I’m sure they will allow me to demonstrate my rounded knowledge for the growth of our country,” he said.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque & Sulaiman Karim Sesay
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