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IMF says reassessing Ghana outlook due to new budget, state energy debt
August 22, 2016 / 9:06 PM / a year ago

IMF says reassessing Ghana outlook due to new budget, state energy debt

WASHINGTON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Monday it was reassessing Ghana’s macroeconomic and fiscal outlook in light of new legislation that could breach a key requirement of its $918 million loan package for the West African country.

The IMF also confirmed it was discussing with the government the debt pressures that have emerged in Ghana’s energy-related state-owned enterprises sector.

Ghana’s parliament passed a bill earlier this month that allows the central bank to finance the government’s budget deficit up to 5 percent of the previous year’s revenue. The IMF had demanded that the central bank be barred from deficit financing..

Ghana’s deputy finance minister told Reuters this month that despite the new law, the government would not finance its deficit with central bank funds.

IMF Ghana mission chief Joel Toujas-Bernate said in a statement: ”Discussions between staff and the authorities are currently ongoing to update macroeconomic projections, firm up the fiscal outlook for the remainder of 2016 and ascertain that financial pressures in SOEs will not pose additional risks to the central government budget.

“Subject to a quick and positive conclusion of these discussions, staff expects the third program review to be considered by the IMF Executive Board around mid-September,” Toujas-Bernate said.

Ghana’s finance minister, Seth Kerkper, led a delegation to Washington two weeks ago to reassure IMF officials of the government’s commitment to the three-year loan deal and to help restore investor confidence after a failed attempt to issue a $500 million Eurobond. (Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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