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Renegotiating IMF deal nearly impossible – Prof Asuming

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The debate over economic strategy continues to heat up, leading up to the 2024 general elections, with economic analysts suggesting that renegotiating Ghana’s $3 billion bailout programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may be nearly impossible.

Ghana is currently navigating a three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme, with $1.6 billion already disbursed. The country’s economic health hinges on the stringent conditions set by the IMF.

In a bold move, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, has hinted at the possibility of renegotiating the deal if he is elected president in the upcoming polls.

However, an economist, Professor Patrick Asuming, explains that any discussions by a new government with the IMF are unlikely to yield significant changes to the programme’s current structure.

“As far as I understand, I’m not sure there is room for tweaking or renegotiating per se, but the IMF always engages with the authorities. Discussions typically revolve around adjustment elements, while the essence of the program remains unchanged,” he explained.

Commenting on the formal confirmation from the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) approving the government’s deal with Eurobond holders on proposed terms to restructure approximately $13.1 billion in debt, Prof. Assuming cautioned the government to exercise prudence in bringing its debts to sustainable levels.

“This is crucial for our debt sustainability, enabling us to reduce debt levels to the targeted 55 per cent envisioned in the programme,” he said.

“Additionally, it offers potential immediate and long-term benefits to the economy, depending on how effectively we utilise the flexibility provided by this restructuring,” he opined.

He further cautioned that: “if we perceive our debt as sustainable and embark on further borrowing, we risk encountering similar challenges in the near future”.

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