Ghana gets $1bn pledge from banks to spur finances

International banks have pledged to lend Ghana $1 billion for budget purposes and to boost the Central Bank reserves as the country seeks to cut its fiscal deficit and stabilise the cedi.

The country raised $750 million through syndicated loans with the participation of about eight African and European banks and $250 million from multilateral lenders, according to two people familiar with the transaction, who didn’t want to be identified because the deal is not yet public.

Standard Bank Group Limited, Standard Chartered Plc and Rand Merchant Bank Limited led the arrangements.

The country, which aims to cut its budget shortfall to 7.4 per cent of gross domestic product in 2022, from an estimated 12.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, will dedicate $750 million of the syndicated loans to the budget, for expenses and liability management, the people said.

The rest will go to the Bank of Ghana to beef up its resources for swap deals, they said.

Ghana’s debt ratio rose to 78 per cent of GDP at the end of March, from 66.3 per cent of GDP a year before. The cedi lost 22 per cent against the dollar this year, compared with one per cent appreciation for the same period a year ago.

The deal will likely be presented to parliament next week for approval, the people said.

The country will consider the second tranche of $1 billion in the latter part of the year, after the mid-year review of the budget and taking into account the impact of the electronic transactions levy, oil and food prices, as well as geopolitics, they said.

Finance Ministry spokeswoman Cecilia Akwetey was unable to immediately comment when contacted by phone and text message. A spokesman for the Bank of Ghana, who asked not to be identified, said he couldn’t immediately comment when contacted by phone. – Blomberg/Myjoyonline.com

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