Ghana must continue fiscal consolidation to contain debt levels: IMF

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ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana must press on with its fiscal consolidation programme to tackle its high public debt irrespective of unfavourable commodity prices, an International Monetary Fund team said on Wednesday at the end of a visit to the country.

Ghana, which exports gold, cocoa and oil, signed a three-year, $918 million deal with the IMF a year ago to restore fiscal balance and the review team said it was broadly satisfied with implementation of the programme.

“The required fiscal adjustment is on track,” mission head Joël Toujas-Bernaté told reporters. “Given the high level of public debt, fiscal consolidation needs to continue notwithstanding the headwinds from low commodity prices.”

Ghana’s public debt stands around 70 percent of GDP, a level the IMF described in the past as “distressing”.

The government plans to issue a Eurobond of up to $1 billion this year to finance the budget amid concerns that market conditions are not favourable for the sale.

Toujas-Bernaté said it was up to Ghana to determine the appropriateness of the transaction at this time, adding that the government could utilise its “good” cash balance should market conditions remain unfavourable.

 

(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Mark Heinrich)

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