Outgoing Ghana President John Dramani Mahama has urged his successor to ensure that the country’s current programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not truncated.
In April 2015, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a 3-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Programme for Ghana with a commitment of US$918 million to the country as balance of payments support to be disbursed in eight (8) equal tranches over the period.
Ghana has honoured the programme under the administration of President Mahama and is set for its final year of implementation. However, with a change of government which has seen Nana Akufo-Addo set to assume duties as President of the Republic from January 7, 2017, the outgoing President has touted the facility as a good one which his successor must allow to see its conclusion by the end of the year.
Delivering his last message prior to the dissolution of the 6th Parliament of the 4th Republic on Thursday, Mahama said “our forum at Senchi was an attempt to forge a consensus for a home grown fiscal consolidation program.”
“The Senchi outcome eventually became the basis for the IMF Extended Credit Facility that we are implementing.”
Counting the gains made so far, he said: “The ECF programme as it’s called, has resulted in an improved macro environment which has seen a steady decline in inflation and interest rates. A new public debt management strategy is also seeing a steady decline in the public sector debts estimated to have dropped from nearly 75% to below 65% currently. Our currency the cedi has also enjoyed this year, a steady stability, depreciating at just above 4% this year.”
President Mahama however added that “while the deficit target for this year might be missed on account of inability to meet revenue targets, it is important for us to continue to pursue fiscal consolidation in the third and final year of the IMF programme.”
He said reduced lifting from the jubilee field on account of the turret bearing problems, non-realization of some of the non-tax revenues such as sale of electromagnetic spectrum, reduced cocoa export revenues and higher than expected election-related expenditure are some of the factors that contributed to the country’s failure to meet the target in 2016.
“In spite of the breached target, expenditure was lower than programed. The approved appropriation for 2016 was not exceeded. It is my belief that we continue a diligent implementation of the IMF programme until the end of 2017 in order that we can create a stable and sustainable economy,” he admonished.
Ghana’s economy is still the second largest in West Africa with a GDP of almost $39 billion. Ghana also moved up thirteen (13) places in the ease of doing business index and is currently considered number one on the World Bank index as at the time President Mahama is ending his tenure.