Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. John Kumah, has disclosed that Ghana’s Enhanced Domestic Programme is ready for negotiation with the IMF which is expected to kick start possibly in the last week of September.

According to the Deputy Minister of Finance, the Ministry is now doing what can be described as targeted stakeholder engagement to get the “buy in” from all the “relevant actors” in the economic space .

The Deputy Minister of Finance disclosed this on PM EXPRESS Business Edition with host George Wiafe on 8 September, 2022.

“This engagement is being done just like what we do before budget presentations” he added, rejecting arguments that the engagement should have been structured like the Senchi consensus format.

Government and the IMF programme

The Deputy Minister of Finance also rejected arguments that government is dragging its feet when it comes to reaching an agreement with the IMF because of the expected tough conditions.

“There has been serious engagement with the IMF over the past month and there is no way anyone can argue that we are not committed to reaching a deal soon with the IMF.”

Dr. Kumah added that, “the Minister of Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, during his recent visit to the USA, met with the Managing Director of the IMF on some issues concerning Ghana’s programme with the Fund.

“President Akufo Addo during his recent trip to Netherlands, met with the Managing Director of the IMF for some engagements. During that meeting, the President did affirm his commitment to the programme,” the deputy Minister added.

Dr. Kumah also revealed that there has been some engagements via video conferencing as well as the recent visit by the new Mission Chief to Ghana.

“You cannot look at all these developments and conclude that Ghana is not committed to and IMF Programme,” the Deputy Minister of Finance stressed.

Restructuring Ghana’s debts

The Deputy Minister of Finance also confirmed that government has started taking steps to restructure the country’s debt stock. He was however tight-lipped on the approach or the format being used to deal with the situation.

He added that as a government, “we are committed to taking those though measures to deal with the current challenges facing the economy.”

The move, sources say has been influenced by proposals from the IMF for government to submit a plan on how it intends to deal with the debt situation as one of the pre-conditions before negotiations for the Fund programme starts in the last week of September.

JOYBUSINESS is however learning that the initiative may result in government taking some steps to review the payment terms for bond and its creditors.

Revenue Mobilization

On revenue mobilization, the Deputy Minister of Finance noted that Government is taking steps to ensure that it meets the end of year target as announced in the 2022 budget. According to governments’ 2022 budget, the country is hoping to mobilise GHC100.5 billion by the end of this year.

This was however revised downward in the Mid-Year review. However, its fiscal numbers for June this year showed that it has been able to secure GHC37 billion as against the target of GHC43 billion.

The Deputy Minister also announced that other measures being implemented, will improve the situation in the coming months. Dr. Kumah added that despite the recent concerns with the E-Levy, “I am very optimistic that things will improve going forward.”

Fiscal prudence and expenditure

The Deputy Minister also rejected assertions that it has not done much to demonstrate its commitment to fiscal prudence, especially when it comes to the extra expenditure cuts. “Remember we have cut expenditure by some 30 percent and even in some cases the impact on some government agencies is more than 80 percent,” he added.

He maintained that “government is committed to cutting areas that we have the space and room, but we should not forget that the rigidities in the country’s budget, may make it difficult to undertake any fresh cuts.”

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.