Ghana seeks $3 billion IMF relief

Ghana seeks $3 billion IMF relief

Kanako Mita and Hiroshi Saito

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Ghana faces major economic woes. Hence, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, is hoping to obtain an emergency relief package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ofori-Atta – condemned by some lawmakers for being incompetent – is ironing out the relief package with the IMF. The total amount in negotiation is $3 billion.

Internally, opposition lawmakers accuse Ofori-Atta of unethical business contracts and breaking the code of official rules. Hence, at a time of growing economic hardship, allegations of corruption are the last thing any government wants.

He denies all wrongdoing and said, “The people of Ghana are enduring hardships. I feel the pain personally, professionally, and in my soul.”

Reuters reports, “The Ghanaian cedi has plummeted more than 40% this year, straining importers of both raw and processed materials. Consumer inflation hit a 21-year high of 40.4% in October on the back of soaring import costs.”

Ofori-Atta, concerning negotiations with the IMF, said, “We are nearly through the IMF negotiations. We’re working assiduously to achieve a staff-level agreement by the end of December 2022.”

Stéphane Roudet – who leads the IMF team dealing with Ghana’s request – said, “The Ghanaian delegation and IMF staff had very fruitful discussions on the authorities’ post-COVID program for economic growth and associated policies and reforms that could be supported by a new IMF arrangement.”

Roudet continued, “We made good progress in identifying specific policies that would restore macroeconomic stability and lay the foundation for stronger and more inclusive growth. The IMF team and the Ghanaian authorities remain fully committed to reaching agreement on a framework and policies for an IMF-supported program as soon as feasible. Discussions will continue in the weeks ahead, with a follow-up mission to take place expeditiously.”

Street protests have broken out in Ghana. However, the IMF deal is at a delicate stage. Therefore, the government seems likely to stay with Ofori-Atta until the agreement is finalized.

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