Government will ‘complete IMF cycle’ – Finance Minister clarifies President’s comment

Business News of Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

2017-07-19

Ken Ofori Atta 99Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has moved to clarify what he says is a misrepresentation of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s comments Tuesday on Ghana’s Extended Credit Facility with the IMF.

During presser held at the Flagstaff House, the President was asked if the three-year IMF deal entered into by the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government would be extended beyond the April 2018 deadline.

In response, the President answered: “There is no question about the IMF being extended. It is coming to an end next year with the budget that we are going to prepare.”

The President also said “We are in a situation where critical parts of the budget of our country require foreign grants on health and education. We’ve got our way out of that situation and so that we can stand on our own two feet and design our future free of external influences. I believe strongly in that and I believe we are capable of that.”

“Typically in April next year, it will be completed under this government,” the President said.

Because the government has been cagey with an express position on whether it will extend the credit facility that it vigourously criticised when it was in opposition, the President’s statement on Tuesday came across as an emphatic position – with major news outlets reporting that the deal would end in April.

The then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) had said the facility was stifling government spending and has put an unhealthy limitation on public sector employment.

However, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, released a statement Tuesday evening suggesting that the April deadline being reported is misleading, but instead, “After the completion of the program at the end of the budget cycle in December 2018, government will not extend it.”

The critical part of the statement reads:

“The government will like to clarify that, Ghana will complete the IMF programme through our budget cycle of January 2018 through December 2018 as stated by the President. The 2018 budget will, therefore, be the last budget under the current IMF program. After the completion of the program at the end of the budget cycle in December 2018, government will not extend it. The President’s remarks should therefore not be interpreted to mean that the government is pulling out of the IMF programme. On the contrary, government will continue with and complete the IMF program through the budget cycle of January 2018 through December 2018.”

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