$3bn IMF deal: I’m interested in how govt will spend in election year – Mahmud Khalid

The government has not been forthcoming on the conditionalities attached to the $3billion bailout approved by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) a member of the economic team of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Dr Sharif Mahmud Khalid has said.

Already, he said, there were signals of conditionalities being implemented following the upward adjustment in water and electricity tariffs by the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC).

Speaking on the Big Issue on TV3 Friday, May 19, he said “You see signals of conditionalities and all that but the government is not even forthcoming. Look at how fast the president signed the new tax levies into law, the increase in utilities by almost 20 percent.

“These are preemptive measures that had been put up by the government because the IMF comes with a lot of pain.

“My concern here is that it is coming too late in the sense that we are moving into an election year and we all know in an election year governments tend to spend a lot. Under a fresh IMF programme in an election year, I am interested to see how the current government will navigate this.”

The Board of the Fund unanimously approved Ghana’s bailout on Wednesday, May 17 at a meeting in Washington after Ghana secured the Paris Club financing assurance on Friday, May 12.

The Mission Chief for Ghana Stéphane Roudet said that the $3 billion bailout would result in reforms in the energy and cocoa sectors.

Also, he said the programme will result in reforms to encourage private sector investments and also build international reserves.

“There will be reforms in the energy and cocoa sectors,” he said during a joint Ghana -IMF press conference in Washington on Thursday, May 18.

“It will be restoring macroeconomic stability, for higher and more inclusive growth. It has reforms that will make the economy more resilient and likely to withstand shock in the future,” he added.

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