Ghana likely to receive next IMF disbursement after successful talks, say sources

Seth Terkper, Finance Minister

Reuters, Fri, Sep 2, 2016

by Kwasi Kpodo

ACCRA, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Ghana has made progress after talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the West African commodities exporter could receive the next disbursement under its $918 million aid deal next month, three sources close to the talks told Reuters on Friday.

The IMF staff evaluation mission, led by Joel Toujas-Bernate, is leaving the capital Accra broadly satisfied that Ghana remains on track with agreed fiscal and institutional reforms aimed at restoring economic stability by the end of the three-year programme, they said.

However, some fiscal data need to be agreed, one source said, adding that negotiations would continue.

"The IMF team raised some concerns about Ghana's fiscals and impressed upon the government to do more to keep the numbers on track," it said, declining to give details.

"Broadly, there is progress and each side is satisfied. We believe this clears the way for the (IMF Executive) Board to conclude the third review successfully," another source told Reuters.

Ghana, the world's second largest cocoa producer, which also exports gold and oil, signed an Extended Credit Facility deal with the IMF in April last year to bring down deficits, public debt and inflation.

This week's staff assessment mission was called to discuss updates of macroeconomic projections and firm up the fiscal outlook for the rest of 2016 after Ghana's parliament passed a law allowing central bank financing of the deficit, contrary to IMF's restrictions.

Once source said Finance Minister Seth Terkper had demonstrated a commitment to maintaining zero financing as required under the IMF deal.

The meeting also discussed Ghana's public debt and debts owed by state enterprises, "and the Fund is fairly assured that the government was taking the right steps to resolve them", one official said.

The IMF executive board is expected to meet later this month to conclude Ghana's third review which started in May. The sources said it is likely to approve a fourth disbursement of around $115 million to the country.

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