Govt, IMF yet to agree on debt position


THE government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are yet to reach a consensus on the country’s debt portfolio, which is necessary for a fund-assisted programme to resuscitate the economy.

The IMF said in a statement issued on October 7 that a Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) that started in August was yet to be concluded.

It, however, expressed the hope that further progress would be made in the coming days as the negotiations continued in Washington D.C. during the IMF/World Bank meetings.

Separately, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, said in Accra that the two sides were making headway on the numbers.


The IMF statement, issued by the fund’s Mission Chief to Ghana, Stéphane Roudet, followed the conclusion of the first round of negotiations in Accra.

Mr Roudet led the IMF team.

The 10-day negotiations aimed at securing a fund-assisted programme to stabilise the economy, re-anchor growth and protect the vulnerable against the economic challenges, the statement said.

The mission chief said the fund re-affirmed its commitment to supporting Ghana in these challenging times, consistent with the IMF’s policies.

Programme request

Ghana requested a fund-assisted programme in July in a sharp contrast to its earlier stance occasioned by heightened deterioration of macro-prudential indicators, including soaring inflation, a falling cedi and growing public debt.

While inflation and the cedi depreciation ended September at 33.9 per cent and about 37 per cent respectively, the World Bank estimates that the public debt will envelop total economic production by December 2021.

The bank said in its Africa Pulse released this week that debt to GDP would peak at 104 per cent.

Debt analysis

In the statement issued by the IMF Mission, the fund reiterated that the DSA was underway.

It said the team would return to Washington, D.C. to advance its technical work.

“This includes making further progress on assessing Ghana’s debt sustainability.

“The discussions with the authorities will also continue in the weeks ahead, including during the upcoming annual meetings that will be convened at IMF headquarters,” the statement said.

The result of the DSA is needed to ensure that the country’s debt is sustainable – a pre-requisite to an IMF-supported programme.

Point of understanding

On the negotiations, Mr Ofori-Atta said discussions had been collaborative, with the government and the IMF now at a point of understanding the debt.

“So, discussions have been very collaborative. I think we are getting to the point where we are understanding our DSA numbers and we will come through with what I believe will be termed as a historic deal,” he said.

The Finance Minister urged the public to support the efforts to stabilise the economy.

Area of focus

Meanwhile, the IMF described the discussions as constructive and focused on policies aimed at restoring macroeconomic stability and laying the foundation for stronger and more inclusive growth.

It said key areas of focus included ensuring public finance sustainability while protecting the vulnerable, bolstering the credibility of monetary and exchange rate policies to reduce inflation and rebuild external buffers and preserving financial sector stability.

It said the team also explored steps to encourage private investment and growth, including by improving governance, transparency and public sector efficiency.

People met

The statement said the IMF staff met with President Akufo-Addo, Vice-President Bawumia, Mr Ofori-Atta and the Bank of Ghana Governor, Dr Ernest Addison, and their teams.

It said the IMF team also met with the Parliament’s Finance Committee, as well as representatives from various government agencies, the Trades Union Congress, the private sector, civil society organisations and development partners.

It also expressed the gratitude of the staff to the authorities, private sector, civil society, development partners and other stakeholders for their constructive engagement and support during the discussions.


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