Business News of 2014-08-01

Ghana Leans Towards IMF Programme

There are growing indications that John Mahama's government will finally bow to pressure and go to the IMF for help on addressing Ghana's worsening economic woes.
Insiders say a final decision will be taken as early as September and that the only thing holding back then government is the full quantum of benefits that would be available to the government.
Appearing on Metro TV's Good Evening Ghana programme on July 29th 2014, the president's senior economic advisor, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, gave the strongest hint about the government's intention when he said that "all options, including an IMF programme, are on the table. "
Dr. Thompson's comment contrasted sharply with the widely reportedly comments of the newly installed deputy minister, Mrs. Mona Quartey, that government was not considering an IMF programme.
Insiders say unlike the deputy minister who operates in the shadow of her boss, the views of Dr. Thompson, who holds a cabinet rank, carry a lot more weight.
When pressed by Programme host Paul Adom Okyere about an IMF programme, Dr. Thompson, who is a member of the CPP, argued that as a member of the IMF Ghana is entitled to the Fund's assistance like any other country, subject to certain conditions.
He pointed out that Ghana first went to IMF in 1965, under the CPP regime of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and has occasionally called on it for assistance when it had economic problems.
He was quick to add that any decision to go to the IMF would depend on overall the "net benefit " to the economy.
"A lot of the conditions the IMF is likely to put forward, such as the size of the public sector, we are undertaking on our own. It would be only a formality of we did."
He also said that government was concerned about the size of the public sector and the implications for the wage bill.