IMF team's second review of Ghana aid program encouraging

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A second review of a financial and economic program sponsored by the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Extended Credit Facility (ECF) to aid Ghana was the focus of an IMF team's recent visit to the African nation.

The team, led by Joël Toujas-Bernaté, convened with officials in Accra to discuss the most effective ways of ensuring the program yields results, as well as methods for putting in place processes and policies that would help stem poverty in Ghana by creating more economic stability and jobs.

While in Ghana, mission members spent time with Ghana President John Dramani Mahama; Finance Minister Seth Terkper; Bank of Ghana Governor Henry Kofi Wampah and Kwesi Botchwey, chairman of the National Development Planning Commission, among other senior officials and stakeholders.

"Implementation of the program has so far been satisfactory, with all end-August 2015 performance criteria met," Toujas-Bernaté said. "Despite a difficult global environment, economic outcomes have been (better than) anticipated, with growth estimated at around 4 percent during the first half of the year and inflation at around 17 percent.

"In line with the program, the fiscal deficit is expected to decline to 7.3 percent of GDP in 2015, down from 10.2 percent of GDP in 2014," Toujas-Bernaté said. "The authorities have also made progress in implementing fiscal structural reforms, albeit at a slower pace than expected in some areas. The mission welcomes the steps taken by the government in addressing payroll irregularities and advancing public financial management reform."

Toujas-Bernaté said the fiscal adjustments under the program would be increased in the coming year to combat Ghana's "high level of debt and financing constraints." Toujas-Bernaté also said increased spending would be a necessity due to the 2016 elections and a wage bill increase.

“Further fiscal adjustment, along with tight monetary policy, should help to restore macroeconomic stability," Toujas-Bernaté said. "The IMF team thanks the authorities for their hospitality, the collaboration, and the high-quality and constructive discussions.”

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