FINANCE MINISTER Ken Ofori-Atta has indicated that government will ensure that a comprehensive package is obtained from the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Government is committed to ensuring that a comprehensive package is negotiated with the aim of restoring and sustaining macroeconomic stability, ensuring durable and inclusive growth and promoting social protection,” he emphasised.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra yesterday, the Finance Minister said having a sustainable debt path is a pre-requisite for the programme.
The IMF and the government are currently undertaking a debt sustainability analysis (DSA) to inform the programme negotiations.
“In addition, the IMF and the government team are working to update the medium-term macro-fiscal framework to inform IMF programme design,” Ofori-Atta disclosed.
He named some seven time-bound areas on which the ongoing government’s bailout negotiation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) team would be hinged.
These areas include Debt Sustainability, Fiscal Consolidation, Strengthening Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies, Building Strong Financial Institutions, Macro-Critical Structural Reforms, Maintaining Peace and Security and Economic Growth and Transformation are priority areas in the ongoing negotiations with the IMF.
These pillars are contained in the government’s yet to be finalised post-COVID-19 economic programme which would serve as the domestic blueprint for the IMF negotiations, expected to run for three years.
He continued that the structural reforms and fiscal consolidation measures would help place the country’s debt levels and fiscal accounts on a sustainable path over the medium-term.
Mr. Ofori-Atta also indicated that a five-member committee, consisting of prominent financial services professionals, will lead extensive stakeholder engagements across all the key segments of the financial sector. These include banking, asset management, pensions and insurance.
“The announcement of the committee members will be made in the coming days and they will immediately get to work to engage key stakeholders in the financial services sector,” he said.
He indicated that the post-COVID-19 economic programme document has already benefitted from input from key stakeholders including civil society organisations (CSOs), social partners (labour unions, employers and farmer-based organisations (FBOs), academia, industry professionals, and the leadership of Parliament. Additional stakeholder engagements will be held to solicit further inputs for the programme.
Mr. Ofori Atta assured that the IMF negotiations would be fast-tracked to ensure that key aspects of the programme are reflected in the 2023 Annual Budget Statement in November 2022.
He, however, noted that the parties have not reached an agreement yet on debt operations.
“We simply have not reached any agreement with the fund on the parameters of any debt operations as we are in the process of completing the debt sustainability analysis,” he said. “Government shall continue to actively engage all stakeholders in a clear and transparent manner as we seek to fast-track the IMF negotiation process.”
The Finance Minister noted that the priority for the government since the COVID-19 episode and the Russia-Ukraine war has been to address macro stability and welfare challenges that confronted the economy.
He, therefore, noted that everything must, and will be done, to protect the country’s financial sector while giving room for a win-win conversation through extensive stakeholder engagement with both domestic and external investors.
“Ghana has always had a collaborative approach with its partners and we shall, I am confident, come out with an historic arrangement,” he said.
BY Jamila Akweley Okertchiri