IMF report expected today

The International Monetary Fund is expected to announce today whether it will release to the country the fourth tranche of the extended credit facility of US$115 million.

A Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, hinted to the B&FT that the IMF met yesterday to determine the next step on Ghana, considering the country’s inability to meet some of the requirements under the bailout programme.

The country’s fiscal outlook for the rest of 2016 was high on the agenda as the top brass of the Fund went to board yesterday to review the country’s US$918 million assistance programme.

The government had expected the Executive board to conclude the third review in June to enable it receive a fourth disbursement of around $115 million in balance of payment support; however, the government failed to meet certain requirements by then.

According to Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, who is NPP MP for New Juaben South, the amended Bank of Ghana (BoG) law and the expected issuance of the Eurobond may prevent the country from assessing the fourth tranche.

“The amended BoG law was a key requirement. Another brewing issue is the issuance of Eurobond. Has government abandoned it?” he asked.

“It was programmed in the budget, so how do they pluck the funding gap?” he further enquired.

There are fears that the IMF could cancel the programme on the back of the country’s inability to ensure zero financing of government by the central bank.

Government has, however, expressed optimism of its performance under the programme, and is confident that IMF will release the money.

The Member of Parliament for Ho Central, Benjamin Kpodo, told the B&FT last month that the programme was on track.

“Ghana has a sovereign nation to administer and both parties will put their negotiations on the table- besides they have not even ignited any clause within the credit facility to pull out”.

Under the IMF programme, several important legislations have been adopted by Parliament, including the Banks and Specialized Deposit-Taking Institutions Bill, the Deposit Insurance Bill, the Public Finance Management Law and the Amended Bank of Ghana Act.

The authorities have also initiated discussions to address pressures that have emerged in the main State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in the energy sector.

Ghana, which exports cocoa, gold and oil, signed the three-year aid deal in April last year to bring down budget deficit, inflation and a high public debt.