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Ghana expects IMF loan approval by June, financial assurances by May – Minister

ACCRA, April 13 (Reuters) – Ghana expects the International Monetary Fund’s board to approve a $3 billion loan by the end of the second quarter of 2023, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said in a presentation on Thursday.

The embattled West African country secured a staff-level agreement with the IMF for the $3 billion support package in December. But the Fund requires bilateral lenders to provide assurances they will restructure its debt as a condition of signing off on the loan.

Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta speaks during a news conference in Accra, Ghana December 13, 2022. REUTERS/Cooper Inveen

Ofori-Atta said that official creditor financial assurances are expected by May and that the country’s domestic debt exchange programme would yield 38 billion cedis of debt service savings in 2023.

He added that $20 billion of external debt was eligible for restructuring, 66% of the external debt stock. Of that, $5.4 billion in official creditor debt will be restructured.

A memorandum of understanding with official creditors and an agreement in principle on Eurobond restructuring are expected by July, with a 2030 Eurobond partially guaranteed by the World Bank included in the restructuring, the minister said.

He added that Ghana needs a $1.5 billion financial stability fund to ensure appropriate solvency and liquidity.

“The World Bank has fortunately agreed to support this fund with a quarter of a billion… and government, looking at the space we have, also committing about $500 million to that,” Ofori-Atta said at the virtual briefing.

Ghana’s net foreign exchange reserves fell sharply in 2022 and are currently $2.6 billion, central bank governor Ernest Addison said in the briefing.

The government also aims to bring rampant inflation down to 8% in the medium term and is targeting real GDP growth of 5% over the same period, a presentation accompanying the briefing said.

Ghana’s inflation reached a more than two-decade high of 54.1% in December, but has since slowed, falling to 45% year-on-year in March.Reporting by Anait Miridzhanian Writing by Sofia Christensen Editing by Estelle Shirbon

Source: Reuters

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