Current engagement with IMF does not guarantee support – Dr Assibey-Yeboah

Former MP for New Juaben South, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, says the presence of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) staff in Ghana does not guarantee the country will get a bailout.

According to him, it is essential for the government to be careful in negotiating a program and being transparent to ensure they secure a fund.

Speaking in an interview on Citi TV, he said that “the fund went to Sri Lanka for 10 days, there was no agreement. So they coming here does not mean there is going to be a program, that is why I am saying, we have to slow things down with the rhetoric and the posturing.”

Dr Assibey-Yeboah explained that government must be willing to share the needed information with the IMF when seeking a bailout.

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“They (IMF) can come here and say ‘well if you aren’t ready to reveal all the data, to open all the books and come clean we are not going to do anything’. For example, energy sector debt, the last time we did an auditing of the debt in 2018, it was about $10bn there after we did the ESLA bond.”

“What is the energy sector debt position right now? We have to know all of this and that is what they are going to ask for. So when they come in and don’t get the data they want and people are not transparent they will go back.”

Dr Assibey-Yeboah’s comment comes days after a delegation from the IMF arrived in Ghana to hold a series of meetings with government officials on Ghana’s economic recovery programme.

The Fund’s officials, led by Mission Chief for Ghana, Carlo Sdralevich, arrived in Ghana on Tuesday and held introductory deliberations with stakeholders including the Vice President, Dr Muhamudu Bawumia on July 6.

The meeting with the IMF centres around expenditure, market reserve management, domestic arrears, expenditure controls and fiscal reporting.

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The team from the IMF is also expected to undertake a lot of data gathering and reconciliation.

The team will also look at the design of the e-levy, estimated yield, the mobilization measures and the nature of its implementation.

Their arrival follows a directive from President Akufo-Addo to the Ministry of Finance to formally engage the Fund for a Balance of Payment support.

Meanwhile, government officials after the announcement have insisted that Ghana is not visiting the IMF because the economy was mismanaged but because of the adverse impact of Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war on Ghana.

However, Dr Assibey-Yeboah believes that the covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war are not solely responsible for Ghana’s economic woes.

He stated that the international ratings agency, Fitch, downgraded Ghana’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) prior to the war.

“The good thing about having a fund programme is that we would have to open our books. So when the fund comes in, we would know the arrears situation for instance.”

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