Saturday, 28 April 2018

IMF ready to disburse US$236m …to shore up Ghana’s foreign reserves

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

All things being equal, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to release fifth and sixth tranches of money to a tune of US$236 million to Ghana under the country’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF) agreement with the Fund early in May.

This is will shore up the foreign reserves of the country, thereby strengthening the local currency further against the US dollar.

This was revealed at this year’s spring meetings of the IMF/World Bank in Washington, DC.

Experts maintain that, the disbursement is indicative of the Fund’s satisfaction with Ghana’s performance so far under the agreement which has been extended to December this year.

The Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who was with the Ghanaian team to Washington was confident and upbeat with the news, adding that, the disbursements should help in financing essential government needs.

“The disbursement generally will go towards budgetary support broadly and at this stage that is how some of these things have been structured. It is rather some of the other items that we are looking at which will go into some of the specific development items that we mentioned before Parliament rose,” he explained.

Aside impressing the Fund with efforts to sustain or surpass the 8.5 percent growth recorded for the first year in office, the government is also pitching for an acceptance of its ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda.

Some government officials have embarked on non-deal road shows both in Asia and in the US.

The exercise is expected to culminate in the issuing of bonds as part of restructuring the country’s debt.
 Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told the media Ghana should be in the good books of the Fund once the debts are at sustainable levels.

“If you have a prudent budget programme which says that no matter what you do, your finances should not go beyond the 4.5 to 5 per cent fiscal deficit target, then the bond issues that do not exceed the target, nobody has a problem with you. So to the extent that we are staying within our prudent budget program, nobody has a problem with us as everybody encourages us to do well to stay within the budget and not to overrun the deficit,” he argued.

Ghana entered into the IMF agreement in 2015 for a credit support of $918 million.

Originally, the IMF programme was scheduled to end in April 2018, but it has since been extended to April 2019 after the NPP government agreed to an extension of the programme.

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