Former Finance Minister Seth Terkper has said if care is not taken, the GHS22billion ‘fiscal offset’ in the 2023 budget could retard progress under an International Monetary Fund ( IMF) programme.
He stated that about a month ago, he drew attention to the problem of arrears the government owed suppliers, contractors, employees.
“We noted that they are as important as the ongoing debate on domestic & external public debt,” he said.
He added ” We must stress: every government has to deal with arrears in every Budget. Hence, the issue is [a] how to sought to improve on the method of compilation & reporting: and [b] how this effort was distorted in the 2017 Budget.
“we show [a] the 2016 “offsets” & bailout “footnotes” appear to resurface in the 2023 Budget; but [b] to paint a positive picture. If not addressed, it will [a] retard progress under an IMF programme; and haunt a new government [NDC?]. Case in point? Single Spine. Tune in.”
Regarding the IMF deal the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said the government expects the IMF board approval of the deal it is seeking with the Fund by May this year.
He told the investors on the sidelines of the ongoing IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C. USA on Thursday, April 13 that “We do at this time expect an IMF board approval in May and contemplate a rapid negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with our creditors. We have made significant efforts on all fronts.”
He further assured the investors that the government had taken a number of steps to ensure that the challenges with the nation’s finances are tackled.
He told the investors on the sidelines of the ongoing IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C. USA that the country is undergoing debt restructuring as part of efforts to secure a deal with the IMF.
said “Ghana has done a number of things, first of all with regards to the Paris Club, we did travel to China, we sort support from India and the Saudis and really maintained open relations with the Club.
“We did get to the Club to let them know that we were worried about the track record of the common framework, we have had a good relationship, we really commend the Paris Club for the sense of urgency that they have and we are confident that they will be able to bring the assurances to the Bank in the coming week.”
He also indicated that Government intends to deepen the relationship with its external creditors.
“We reaffirm our commitment to work with our private and commercial creditors in all of our engagements,” he stressed.