Ghana said on Tuesday it will not extend its three-year aid programme with the International Monetary Fund beyond April 2018, but the IMF urged it to do so to give it time to complete the programme’s goals. President Nana Akufo-Addo’s announcement is a surprise turnaround after government officials said last month that Ghana was considering a request by the Washington lender to extend the programme to December 2018. An extension would have reassured markets of the government’s commitment to fiscal discipline, analysts say. Akufo-Addo said, however, the government was on target with its policy to restore growth and create private sector jobs.
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“There is no question about the IMF programme being extended beyond April 2018. We want to complete it and move on,” he told reporters. The Finance Ministry later said Akufo-Addo’s remarks did not mean that Ghana was pulling out of the current programme. “On the contrary, government will continue with and complete the IMF programme through the budget circle of January 2018 through December 2018,” it said in a statement. The IMF board is due to review Ghana’s progress under the deal in early August. Responding to Akufo-Addo’s comments, the Fund maintained that an extension was essential for Ghana to successfully complete the review after failing to meet certain deal requirements on scheduled.
“Following a significant setback in program implementation last year, making sure that the original program objectives can be achieved will take more time than initially expected,” IMF Ghana chief Natalia Koliadina said in an email response to Reuters after Akufo-Addo’s remarks.
Akufo-Addo’s government inherited the $918-million agreement signed in April 2015 to address problems of slow growth, high public deficit and high public debt.