Adopt policies to support bailout programme – IMF tells gov’t

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has hinted that current talks with Ghana on a possible bailout programme have reached a stage where government needs to adopt policies that will support the programme.

This, according to the IMF, is to enable the bailout programme to get the approval of its Executive Board.

This was disclosed by the Deputy Spokesman of the Communications Department of the IMF, William Murray, at a press conference in Washington, USA.

He said: “Right now, we are still working with Ghana in terms of nailing down details of policies that could be supported by Fund and its Executive Board.”

Mr. Murray also indicated that the IMF team is helping government to take concrete steps to clean up the government payroll and help finalize medium term reforms government is undertaking.

“The IMF team is in close contact with the authorities and is working with the authorities in several areas including issues related to concrete steps in cleaning up the government payroll, finalizing remaining details of their medium-term reforms and seeking external financing insurances from bilateral donors and international institutions,” he explained.

Government in August headed to the Britton Wood institution for a bailout programme on the back of an ailing economy; amid huge debt levels, heightened inflation, ballooning wage bill, a fast depreciating Cedi among others.

Though President John Mahama has expressed optimism that the three-year programme will commence in January, a number of stakeholders have indicated that the target may be impossible.

Rating Agency, Fitch, has also warned that the Cedi could begin to depreciate again if the IMF programme does not begin as soon as possible.

But Mr, Murray was hopeful that once the IMF team completes its work and the financial arrangement supports Ghana’s economic programme, “it could be agreed at staff level before being proposed for the IMF Executive Board’s consideration.”

The IMF after its first round of discussions on a possible programme for Ghana announced some targeted key areas it will push government to bring the country’s economy back on track.

The Fund has also targeted a drastic review of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) which according to government drains more than 50% of its revenue.

It also said the costly and untargeted subsidies for energy and petroleum products must be eliminated, with a better prioritization of capital spending.

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