IMF programme a “complete waste of time”: Finance Committee chair

The Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee Mark Assibey Yeboah has described Ghana’s deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a “complete waste of time.”
The New Juaben South MP noted in a debate on the floor parliament during deliberations on President Nana Akufo-Addo’s State of Nation Address that all targets set under the IMF programme were not met by the John Mahama administration.

Ghana signed onto the deal following fiscal slippages, and government quest for policy credibility two years ago.

“So why did we enter the IMF programme to start with? It has been a complete waste of time”, the New Juaben South MP asked on the floor of Parliament,” he said.
“In 51 years of Ghana’s existence, the debt was Gh¢9.5 billion, now you have bequeathed this country in 8 years, you have moved this debt from Gh¢9.5 billion to Gh¢122 billion,” he added.

The IMF in its latest review of the aid package said Ghana’s economy continues to face challenges despite exceeding the growth target of 3.3 percent.
The IMF added that inflation has been slower than expect while applauding the narrowing of the current account deficit to 6 ½ percent of GDP.
“Ghana’s economy continues to face challenges. While the estimated economic growth of 3.6% in 2016 exceeded our target of 3.3%, the decline in inflation has been slower than expected. The current account deficit narrowed to 6 ½ percent of GDP, contributing to a small buildup of foreign exchange reserves,” the IMF said in a press stament.
According to IMF, Ghana’s fiscal deficit deteriorated to an estimated 9 percent instead of the projected target of 5¼ percent of GDP.

It attributed the deterioration to poor oil and non-oil revenue performance and large expenditure overruns.

“In 2016, the overall fiscal deficit (on a cash basis) deteriorated to an estimated 9 percent of GDP, instead of declining to 5¼ percent of GDP as envisaged under the IMF-supported program. The large deviation was mainly due to poor oil and non-oil revenue performance and large expenditure overruns. As a result, the government debt-to GDP ratio increased further to close to 74 percent of GDP at end-2016.”

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