Business News of Saturday, 28 February 2015
Ghana is expected to receive 100 million dollars in April, as the first tranche of bailout funds under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program.
The funds should come in after the IMF board meets on April 3 to consider Ghana’s request for financial assistance.
According to persons close to the negotiations, Ghana’s request is likely to be approved by the IMF board. Their optimism is based on progress made so far by Government on conditions set out under the bailout program and work done so far by the staff mission on Ghana’s request.
The $100m funds which will be disbursed in April are part of a total of 940 million dollars that the country is expected to receive under the IMF program.
Ghana hopes to raise about 2 billion dollars from the country’s donor partners besides the 940 million it expects from the IMF; bringing the potential relief to the nation to almost 3 billion dollars.
According to the IMF, Ghana’s program is expected to run through 2017 to the end of 2018. This has raised concerns about Government’s commitment to stick to tough conditions like aggressive cuts in expenditure especially in an election year.
However the head for the mission to Ghana, Joel Toujas Bernate, does not see this as a challenge at all.
Mr Bernate said recent approval by Cabinet for additional prudent measures is also in the right direction.
According to him, the original budget for 2015 has already planned a reduction in the deficit by 3% of GDP, a move Mr Bernate said is a plus for the country.
Meanwhile reports that IMF is under pressure from the US government to quickly close a deal with Ghana is inaccurate, says Mr Bernate.
If the news of Ghana opening talks with the IMF alone contributed to the local currency’s stability last year, then surely the country’s economic challenges are set for a turnaround if the bailout is confirmed.
Others however say Ghana is in for challenging times ahead as Government will be required to cut spending and increase tax collection to improve its revenue under the programme.