THE INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund (IMF) and government have reached staff-level agreement on economic policies and reforms proposed by the latter to be supported by a new three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) totalling US$3 billion.
Government’s strong reform programme aims at restoring macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability while protecting the vulnerable, preserving financial stability, and laying the foundation for strong and inclusive recovery.
To support the objective of restoring public debt sustainability, it has launched a comprehensive debt operation.
In addition to a frontloaded fiscal consolidation and measures to reduce inflation and rebuild external buffers, the programme envisages wide-ranging reforms to address structural weaknesses and enhance resilience to shocks.
The IMF team, led by Stéphane Roudet, Mission Chief for Ghana, visited Accra between December 1 and 13, 2022, to discuss with government IMF’s support for their policy and reform plans.
At the end of the mission, Mr. Roudet announced, “I am pleased to announce that the IMF team reached staff-level agreement with the Ghanaian authorities on a three-year programme supported by an arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) in the amount of SDR2.242 billion or about US$3 billion. The economic programme aims to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability while laying the foundation for stronger and more inclusive growth.”
It, however, stated that the staff-level agreement was subject to IMF Management and Executive Board approval and receipt of the necessary financing assurances by Ghana’s partners and creditors.
“The Ghanaian authorities have committed to a wide-ranging economic reform programme, which builds on the government’s Post-COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG) and tackles the deep challenges facing the country.
“Key reforms aim to ensure the sustainability of public finances while protecting the vulnerable. The fiscal strategy relies on front-loaded measures to increase domestic resource mobilisation and streamline expenditure. In addition, the authorities have committed to strengthening social safety nets, including reinforcing the existing targeted cash-transfer programme for vulnerable households and improving the coverage and efficiency of social spending,” the statement said.
It continued that, “Structural reforms will be introduced to underpin the fiscal strategy and ensure a durable consolidation. These include developing a medium-term plan to generate additional revenue and advancing reforms to bolster tax compliance. This will help create space for growth-enhancing measures and social spending. Efforts will also be made to strengthen public expenditure commitment controls, improve fiscal transparency (including the reporting and monitoring of arrears), improve the management of public enterprises, and tackle structural challenges in the energy and cocoa sectors. The authorities are also committed to further bolstering governance and accountability.
“To support the objective of restoring public debt sustainability, the authorities have announced a comprehensive debt restructuring. Sufficient assurances and progress on this front will be needed before the proposed Fund-supported programme can be presented to the IMF Executive Board for approval.
“Reducing inflation, enhancing resilience to external shocks, and improving market confidence are also important programme priorities. Accordingly, the Bank of Ghana will continue to strengthen its monetary policy framework and promote exchange rate flexibility to rebuild external buffers. As part of the authorities’ debt strategy, a domestic debt exchange has been launched. The authorities are committed to taking the necessary mitigation measures to ensure financial sector stability is preserved,” it noted.
IMF staff also held meetings with Vice President Bawumia, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, and Bank of Ghana Governor Ernest Addison, and their teams, as well as representatives from various government agencies. It has also continued to engage with other stakeholders.
“Staff would like to express their gratitude to the Ghanaian authorities, Parliament’s Finance Committee and all the private sector, trade unions, and civil society representatives for their open and constructive engagement over the past few months,” it added.
BY Ebenezer Amponsah & Vincent Kubi