Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance, has disclosed that Government is finalizing a-seven-pillar Post-COVID-19 economic programme as the domestic blueprint to engage the IMF
According to the Finance Minister, the economic programme contains a set of time-bound structural reforms and fiscal consolidation measures to place the country’s debt levels and fiscal accounts on a sustainable path over the medium-term.
He disclosed the seven (7) pillars as 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.
“This document has already benefitted from input from key stakeholders including Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), social partners (Labour unions, employers, and FBOs), academia, industry professionals, and the leadership of Parliament. Additional stakeholder engagements will be held to solicit further inputs for the programme.”Ken Ofori-Atta
At a press briefing on the economy, Hon. Ofori-Atta noted that undoubtedly, global risks remain on the horizon, including a strengthening US dollar and higher interest rates which negatively affect external borrowing.
This development, according to him, is exerting enormous pressure on the country’s Balance of Payment position, and thus the need for “us to expedite our engagement with the IMF”.
The IMF Negotiations
Providing further details on the bailout, Hon. Ofori-Atta noted that the formal negotiations for a Fund-supported programme began on Monday, September 26th, 2022 and discussions are advancing smoothly.
“The IMF Mission will cover a period of 10 days; and in line with H.E. the President’s dialogue with the IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, negotiations will be fast-tracked to ensure that key aspects of the programme are reflected in the 2023 Annual Budget Statement in November 2022.
“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.”Ken Ofori-Atta
The Finance Minister emphasized that having a sustainable debt path is a pre-requisite for the IMF programme. Therefore, the IMF/World Bank and the Ghana Team are currently undertaking a debt sustainability analysis (DSA) to inform the programme negotiations, he noted.
In addition, Hon. Ofori-Atta said the IMF and Government Team are working to update the medium-term macro-fiscal framework to inform IMF programme design.
Also, he indicated that the Government Team and the IMF Team are discussing policy measures and structural reforms proposed in our economic programme aimed at addressing the economic challenges facing the country towards restoring and sustaining macroeconomic stability, fiscal and debt sustainability, as well as promoting durable and inclusive growth and social protection.
“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. Government shall continue to actively engage all stakeholders in a clear and transparent manner as we seek to fast-track the IMF negotiation process.”Ken Ofori-Atta
Ghana, he said, needs a viable domestic financial system to support its development programme, especially in these three years with limited access to the International Capital Market. “Therefore, everything must, and will be done, to protect our financial sector”, he said, adding that there must be room for a win-win conversation through extensive stakeholder engagement with both domestic and external investors.
Hon. Ofori-Atta noted that the growth outturn of 3.4% and 4.8% in Q1 and Q2 of 2022 respectively, coupled with modest improvements in the fiscal position, suggests “our economy is gradually on the upswing despite the numerous shocks we have faced over the past two years”.