Ghana’s quest for technical and financial assistance from Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) is set to attain a milestone when proposals reach the Fund’s Executive Board next month.
Deputy Finance Minister, Cassel Ato Forson, revealed this on Newsfile news analysis programme Saturday, January 17, 2015.
“I can confirm to you today that we’ve reached an agreement as long as the policy objective is concerned; we’ve reached agreement as long as memorandum of economic and financial policy is concerned. The IMF is only working with us to finalise it and go to the board next month”, said Mr Forson.
Mr Forson was reacting to a comment by co-panelist, former Deputy Finance Minister, Anthony Akoto-Osei, that the IMF programme has taken too long to come.
Mr Akoto-Osei said delays in striking a deal with the Bretton-Woods institution is a sign that a possible Fund programme will be a botched endeavour or derailed at best.
However, Mr Forson disagreed with that assertion: “The IMF programme is not derailed. It’s on track, we are hopeful, we know the next board meeting, we are going to have it [meeting] and we are going to conclude”.
When bailout proposals reach the IMF Executive Board, it will be a significant step in Government’s effort to clinch a possible Fund programme.
This is because the Fund’s 24-member Executive Board, made up of all 188 member countries, plays a key role in decisions on a possible Fund programme for member states.
The IMF Executive Board normally makes decisions based on consensus, but sometimes formal votes are taken. At the end of most formal discussions, the Board issues what is known as a summing up, which summarises its views.
Initial reports had suggested that a 2015 deadline for a possible Fund programme could be elusive since a timeline for when proposals would reach the Executive Board was nonexistent.
Ghana approached the IMF in August 2014 for a programme, which many say will be a bailout from severe economic challenges.
There have been three major meetings between Ghana’s team, led by former Finance Minister, Kwesi Botchwey and the IMF.
President Mahama had announced a start date of January 2015 last year for the Fund programme, but with proposals yet to reach IMF Board next month that promise will be impossible to achieve.
Ghana is expected to run a three-year programme once it starts.