Finance Ministry bemoans unfounded claims about IMF negotiations

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Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister

The Ministry of Finance has expressed its disappointment over falsehoods thrown into the public domain about the ongoing government negotiation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to the Ministry, it is “disappointing that at a time when the Republic is engaged in serious efforts aimed at ensuring macroeconomic stability, the propagation of falsehoods and misrepresentations, supported by the publication of same, appear to be gaining notoriety.”

“Most regrettably,” it noted, “such unfounded and misleading statements undermine national efforts when introduced into public discourse.”

This was contained in a statement issued yesterday by the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry.

Allegations

A series of unfounded statements has been thrown into the public domain, mostly from members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), over the IMF negotiations with government. Notable among NDC members who have developed a penchant of throwing dust into the eyes of Ghanaians, without any supporting data or sources, include a former Deputy Finance Minister, Mona Helen Quartey, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Dr Clement Apaak and Cassiel Atto Forson, Members of Parliament for North Tongu,  Builsa South and Ajumako respectively.

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They have claimed, among others, that the negotiations are not going well because the Fund does not see any seriousness on the part of the government. Additionally, it has been alleged that government does not have a programme for consideration by the IMF and that officials of the Fund have discovered inaccuracies in the macroeconomic figures presented by the government’s Economic Management Team.

Response

But, according to the Ministry, the “allegation that the negotiations are not going well is categorically untrue.”

“The IMF itself has on numerous occasions stated unequivocally that negotiations are progressing well, and affirmed that both parties are fully committed to reaching a deal as soon as feasible,” the ministry noted.

It added that “the Ministry refutes the claim that the government does not have a programme for consideration by the IMF.”

“To the contrary, the government has submitted its Post-COVID Programme for Economic Growth to the Fund, which programme has formed the basis of negotiations. We refer the public to the IMF’s Press Statement dated 20th October, 2022: The Ghanaian delegation and IMF staff had very fruitful discussions on the authorities’ post-COVID program for economic growth and associated policies and reforms that could be supported by a new IMF arrangement,” portions of the statement read.

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“Finally, the Ministry of Finance strongly denies that there were inaccuracies in the figures presented to the IMF, leading to so-called ‘credibility issues’.

“None but accurate figures have been presented to the IMF, and the Ministry has been fully transparent at all times. The Ghanaian negotiation team remains credible and highly respected, and has enjoyed great cooperation from the IMF. To suggest otherwise is false, misleading and pure mischief which must be ignored,” the statement added.

It has cautioned that such falsehoods contribute to the erosion of stability in the Ghanaian economy, and could unduly hold back the strong progress of negotiations so far.

In view of this, it has called “on all to be responsible in utterances related to the IMF negotiations. Well-meaning Ghanaians are entreated to disregard false narratives, and instead, defer to official communications from the Ministry of Finance and the IMF.”

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GALOP

Relatedly, the Ministry of Education has also debunked claims that it has defaulted in submitting its audit report on the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP-Cr.No.64820-GH) to the Ministry of Finance.

A statement issued yesterday by the Ministry’s PRO, Kwasi Kwarteng, stated that there is no outstanding obligation in respect of the 2021 audit report on GALOP.

“Our attention has been drawn to a letter addressed to the Ministry of Finance from the World Bank regarding the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP).

“The Ghana Audit Service is responsible for the audit of GALOP. It took longer than expected for the audit to be completed. However, subsequent to the notice from the World Bank the report has been finalised and submitted. The World Bank has confirmed receipt,” the statement clarified.

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