IMF team to visit Ghana in December for more talks on support programme

PUBLISHED: Wed, 30 Nov 2022 13:27:24 GMT
Rachel Savage and Cooper Inveen
Reuters
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FILE PHOTO: People walk on the street around Kwame Nkrumah circle in Accra, Ghana, December 2, 2016. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo

ACCRA, Nov 30 (Reuters) – An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team will visit Ghana again from Dec. 1 to 13 to continue discussions on the West African country’s request for a support programme to help reduce debt distress, the Fund said in a statement on Wednesday.

Ghana turned to the IMF for help in July as its balance-of-payments deteriorated and hundreds took to the streets to protest against economic hardship.

The country is facing its worst economic crisis in a generation, with rampant inflation, spiralling debt and a tumbling local currency.

“Our objective for this visit is to make further progress toward reaching agreement on policies and reforms that could be supported by an IMF lending arrangement,” staff team head Stephane Roudet said in the statement.

The team will continue discussions with authorities on a post-COVID programme for economic growth and other reforms that could be supported by a new IMF lending arrangement, it said.

Ghana in October said the aim was to reach a staff-level agreement with the IMF by the end of 2022.

The Fund has not yet commented on a timeline but previously said more work was needed on a debt-sustainability analysis.

Ghana’s total public debt stood at $48.9 billion at the end of September, $28.4 billion of which was external, according to government figures.

Presenting the 2023 budget last week, the finance minister promised to cut spending and boost revenue as the government negotiates the relief package.

The Bank of Ghana hiked its main lending rate by a further 250 basis points to 27% on Monday to try to quell inflation, which hit a 21-year peak last month despite aggressive central bank lending rate hikes this year.

The government said last week it was working on a new policy whereby Ghana would use gold rather than U.S. dollars to buy oil products, and that all large-scale mining companies had been ordered to sell 20% of their stock of refined gold to the Bank of Ghana from Jan. 1, 2023.

(Reporting by Rachel Savage and Cooper Inveen; Writing by Sofia ChristensenEditing by Alexander Winning, Estelle Shirbon and Chizu Nomiyama)

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