IMF Approves US$918 million Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Ghana

IMF Approves US$918 million Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Ghana

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today approved a three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Ghana in an amount equivalent to SDR 664.20 million (180 percent of quota or about US$918 million) in support of the authorities’ medium-term economic reform program.

The program aims to restore debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability to foster a return to high growth and job creation, while protecting social spending. The Executive Board’s decision will enable an immediate disbursement of SDR 83.025 million (about US$114.8 million).

At the conclusion of the Executive Board’s discussion, Mr. Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, stated:
“After two decades of strong and broadly inclusive growth, large fiscal and external imbalances in recent years have led to a growth slowdown and are putting Ghana’s medium-term prospects at risk. Public debt has risen at an unsustainable pace and the external position has weakened considerably. The government has embarked on a fiscal consolidation path since 2013, but policy slippages, exogenous shocks, and rising interest costs have undermined these efforts. Acute electricity shortages are also constraining economic activity.

“The new ECF-supported program, anchored on Ghana’s Shared Growth and Development Agenda, aims at strengthening reforms to restore macroeconomic stability and sustain higher growth. The main objectives of the program are to achieve a sizeable and frontloaded fiscal adjustment while protecting priority spending, strengthen monetary policy by eliminating fiscal dominance, rebuild external buffers, and safeguard financial sector stability.
“Achieving key fiscal objectives will require strict containment of expenditure, in particular of the wage bill and subsidies. The government’s efforts to mobilize additional revenues will also help create more space for social spending and infrastructure investment, in particular in the energy sector. The government is rightly adjusting expenditures further to mitigate the shortfall in oil revenue and avoid a larger debt build-up. Moreover, a prudent borrowing strategy will be needed to ensure that financing needs are met at the lowest possible cost.

“The government’s structural reform agenda appropriately focuses on strengthening public financial management and enhancing transparency in budget preparation and execution. Strengthening expenditure control will be critical to avoid new accumulation of domestic arrears. The government should continue to clean up the payroll and improve control of hiring in the public sector to address one of the main sources of fiscal imbalances in the recent past. At the same time, enhanced transparency in the public finances will be critical to garner broad support for reforms.

“The authorities are strengthening monetary operations and gradually eliminating monetary financing of the budget to improve the effectiveness and independence of monetary policy and bring inflation down to single digit territory. Safeguarding financial sector stability will be important for supporting private sector activity.

“Forceful and sustained implementation of the program will be essential to address Ghana’s macroeconomic imbalances and enhance investor confidence in view of downside risks. The frontloaded nature of the fiscal consolidation and expected financial support from development partners should help to mitigate program risks, and foster broad-based, inclusive growth in the medium term.”

Source: IMF

Oil and Gas Press