Gov’t awaits validated indicators to fully exit IMF

Government is awaiting validated macro-indicators or indices from the Statistical Service before it can fully wean itself from the IMF’s three-year extended credit facility programme, a parliamentary report has revealed.

The country is in its final year of the US$918m credit deal signed in April 2015 to fix its economy dogged by high deficit, inflation and a troubling public debt.

According to a Finance Committee report on the annual budget estimates for the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Finance has submitted documentation for the 7th review of the ECF programme to the IMF board.

In all, the 8th and final review – with a test date of December 2018 – is expected to be completed by April 2019.

What this means is that government will be waiting on the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) to validate macro-indicators of the economy, and that should be ready by the first quarter of 2019 a source at the Ministry of Finance explained to B&FT.

To ensure irreversibility of the gains made under the programme, government intends to legislate fiscal rules and institutionalise a social partnership arrangement with organised labour and employers.

In 2018, the fifth and sixth programme reviews were successfully conducted and facilitated the disbursement of US$191m, bringing total disbursement under the programme to about GH₵764.1m.

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Ghana, which exports cocoa, gold and oil, signed onto the programme in April 2015 – hoping to restore fiscal balance to an economy dogged by budget deficits, rising public debt and inflation.

The IMF in a statement had lauded government’s “encouraging steps”, and said that “the economy is showing signs of recovery”.

It called for additional efforts to address revenue shortfalls, and full enforcement of expenditure control measures to contain spending and prevent the recurrence of domestic arrears.

It also urged government to tackle energy sector inefficiencies, particularly improving the management of state-owned enterprises.

Lagarde’s visit

Madam Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will pay a visit to Ghana from December 16 to 18 for bilateral talks with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Her visit comes weeks ahead of the end of the country’s three-year IMF programme, and marks an appreciation of the country’s policy direction and solid economic fundamentals.

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