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IMF programme would be reviewed – Osafo Maafo insists

Yaw Osafo-Maafo
File photo: Yaw Osafo-Maafo

The Senior Minister-designate, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo has maintained that the New Patriotic Party government would not think twice in reviewing the Extended Credit Facility arrangement between the government of Ghana and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The country is in the final year of the programme but Mr. Maafo said the components of the agreement are not friendly to the policies of the government as contained in the manifesto of the NPP.

The three-year facility was signed under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress government, where the country is expected to benefit US$918 million when it was approved on April 3, 2015.

On September 28, 2016 the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund completed the third review of Ghana’s economic performance, enabling the disbursement of about US$116.2 million, bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to about US$464.6 million.

But Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo indicated that the IMF has been communicated to about government’s intention to review the credit facility.

He was responding to a question from the Member of Parliament from Lawra, Anthony Karbo, when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Friday.

The manifesto of the NPP “needs fiscal space”, he pointed out but the IMF programme, as its stands currently “squeezes” the space.

The Senior Minister-designate also assessed that most of the targets set by the IMF under the programme were “missed” by the previous government, making it more prudent to review the facility.

He noted for instance, government’s deficit under the programme should not be more than 5%, but figures from the Bank of Ghana that he is privy to suggested that the government is hovering around 8%. “That is enough for the IMF itself to review the programme,” he pointed out.

The government, he reiterated, would be guided by “two angles” in seeking a review: targets under the credit facility and NPP government’s own need to factor the party’s manifesto.

Friendly environment

Mr. Osafo Maafo asserted that the NPP’s manifesto is bent on creating a business friendly environment, inferring that the current environment is “complicated” causing “hindrance to businesses”.

He cited multiple sales of lands, for instance, as “embarrassing” blot on the country’s drive to make the business friendly.

He recalled how many businesses that had planned to relocate to Ghana during the Ivorian crisis had to resettle somewhere due to the rent advance: the minimum in Ghana is two years which is not legal but enforcement has been problematic.

“This is some of the small, small things we will look at to make business environment friendly,” he acknowledged.

By Isaac Essel | 3news.com | Ghana

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