Government ‘pushed’ for IMF extension – Report

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Thu, 7 Sep 2017 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Documents cited by JoyNews indicate that the recent IMF extension announced was at the request of government.

This is contrary to speculations that government was forced by the IMF to extend it due to failure on the part of government to achieve many of the targets set for them under the programme.

Additionally, the documents indicate that while government in a letter to the IMF is proposing that the extension ends on December, IMF is looking at carrying out its last program review in February 2019.

According to a letter of intent signed by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and Bank of Ghana (BoG) Governor Dr. Ernest Yedu Addison, sent to the Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, government’s request was influenced by a weakened economy it inherited, making it difficult to meet program targets by the end of 2017.

The letter also added that the extension also “reflected the lag in policy implementation due to the change of government. Our budget, although prepared and approved in record time, it was only enacted in late March”.

Government in the letter also outlined measures to improve revenue collections, check rising expenditure, to demonstrate its commitment to the program.

Finance minister’s reaction

But Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has justified the extension, describing it as technical.

He maintained that program would end in December 2018, adding that, government is committed to stabilizing the economy and implementing programs that would improve the livelihood of Ghanaians.

Government’s deceit

Former Deputy Communications Minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu says the Akufo-Addo government has deceived Ghanaians by extending the country’s credit facility programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Despite claims by some government officials that the programme was going to be reviewed when it expired in April 2018, President Akufo-Addo in July this year President Akufo-Addo discounted the possibility of extending the programme, stating “The IMF programme is not going to be extended”.

Prudent decision

Despite coming under a barrage of criticism from opposition NDC, some analysts and institutions have lauded government’s decision referring to it as ‘prudent’.

Financial Analyst, Sydney Casely Hayford has rubbished assertions the New Patriotic Party government is essentially admitting failure in the management of the economy, following the extension of Ghana’s programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Casely Hayford said the extension was simply “prudent business. That is what a sensible business person does.”

More so, Civil Society Platform has commended government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for extending country’s program with the Fund.

According to a statement issued by the platform, the programme extension is in the best interest of the country, as it will “afford government time to work towards attaining the overall programme objectives of restoring debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability as well as foster a return to high growth and job creation, while protecting social spending.”

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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