Economist doubtful about chances of securing IMF deal by end of year

Financial Economist, Prof. Lord Mensah, is skeptical about the government’s chances of tying down a bailout programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the last quarter of this year.

This comes after the Managing Director of IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, in a meeting with the President of Ghana recently assured that a deal between Ghana and the IMF should be reached and finalised before the end of the year.

Describing Ghana as a “superb country”, she reiterated the determination of the Fund to work with the government and the Ministry of Finance, to ensure that an agreement is in place before the end of the year.

Prof. Mensah reacting to this development expressed doubts about Ghana’s readiness for the bailout programme.

“We’re almost through the last quarter of the year, so if we get the programme with the IMF now, the fiscal impact will not be as effective as expected. I believe that the IMF would want to take the new-year into consideration, and some of the policies they’ll like to roll with us will be reflected in the budget that will be read in November. So they may be using this period till the end of the year to draft the possible policies,” he told Citi Business News.

“This also shows how prepared the country was for the IMF, and everything signals that we were not ready. That is why we’ve been going up and down with them. I believe they want to match up some of their policies to go with our fiscal year,” he said.

Ghana is before the IMF for US$3 billion to help the country navigate through the hostile economic crisis it finds itself in as a result of the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

According to President Akufo-Addo, as of now, a lot of work had been done by Cabinet and the Ministry of Finance, and the document to be presented by the government “is ready for the scrutiny of the IMF”.

IMF officials are expected back in the country in the last week of September to open formal negotiations.

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