Finally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a $918 million Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement for Ghana to help boost growth, create jobs and stabilise of the economy.
The Executive Board of the IMF is reported over the weekend, to have approved the three-year arrangement, in support of the country’s medium-term economic reform programme.
According to the report, the support programme also aims at restoring debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability to foster a return to high growth and job creation, while protecting social spending.
The report said with the approval, Ghana would receive an immediate disbursement of about $11.8 million.
The approval of the ECF has come as a big relief, not only to the government, but the majority of Ghanaians who have been expectant and anxious since the government announced its intention to seek the IMF bailout, last year. So what does the approval mean to the ordinary Ghanaian in the street?
In fact, the bailout deal may mean very little to many people, in so far as, the funds are not coming directly into their pockets. The cynics may view government’s promise to use the bailout to sort out the economic challenges with suspicion. Not all the people trust the government to do the right thing, because we have seen and been through it all, before.
Frankly, this is not the first time Ghana has sought an IMF support, and would not be the last.
What is critical however, is that, the expectations are very high. Many Ghanaians are expectant that the bailout would ease the economic melt-down, and put the country on the path of growth.
It is reassuring that ahead of the release of the first tranche, President John Mahama, has reminded all Ghanaians that the success of the assistance would depend on each and every one of us.
He said “It is a challenge for the government, for instance, to live within its means and exercise fiscal discipline”.
The Times recognises, that there are very challenging times ahead, and everyone should support the effort to achieve success.
However, the greater onus is on the government to provide the leadership that would ensure we achieve our targets.
Fact is, the government would have no excuse this time round, if it does not put its acts together and achieve the desired economic goals.
We commend the government for staying the course and receiving the assistance from the IMF. What is left now is for us to move into action and achieve the set goals and targets. That is what every Ghanaian is looking forward to, and the prosperity we all yearn for.