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“A year on, What are the Gains and Shortfalls of the IMF Supported Extended Credit Facility Arrangement on the Ghanaian Economy?

                                                           Background                                                               

Ghana’s economic environment became very unstable in 2014, with a fast depreciating currency and rising inflation that hit ordinary household pockets the hardest. Government coffers became dried up that disbursements to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) as well as other government agencies and social protection programmes were either never released or suffered severe delays coupled with a power crisis that further worsened the health of the economy. In August 2014, Government ultimately requested an arrangement with the IMF and on April 3, 2015, the IMF Board approved a three-year (2015-2017) Extended Credit Facility (ECF) about US$918 million or 180 percent of Ghana’s quota at the IMF.

The programme aims to restore debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability through an ambitious and sustained fiscal consolidation, a prudent debt management strategy with improved fiscal transparency, and an effective monetary policy framework to foster a return to growth and job creation, while safeguarding social and other priority spending.

The Civil Society Platform on Ghana’s IMF Programme was thus formed in November 2014, as an initiative to advocate for civil society inclusiveness in major public financial management issues and in particular the IMF programme negotiations as well as implementation of the final agreement. The Platform’s membership includes; Financial Accountability & Transparency-Africa, IMANI Center for Policy & Education and Africa Centre for Energy Policy, Penplusbytes, Ghana Integrity Initiative, Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition, Ghana Center for Democratic Development, SEND-Ghana, Oxfam, Institute for Fiscal Policy, African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs, among others.

The Platform has been at the forefront of civil society engagements with government and the IMF on the Fund Programme, putting across concerns of citizens during the negotiation stages and after the final agreement. To this end, two national fora on November 18, 2014 and June 16, 2015 were organized to inform further advocacy on the Programme.

The second year of the IMF programme is underway in 2016 and with 37 percent of funds disbursed so far (representing US$ 343.7 million of  the total of US$ 918 million), the Civil Society Platform considers the necessity to ascertain progress made, highlight critical areas of concern as well as propose policy recommendations. In order for the country to reap maximum benefits from the Fund-supported programme going forward. This underscores the essence of the Third National Civil Society Forum on Ghana’s IMF Programme on the theme “A year on, What are the Gains and Shortfalls of the IMF Supported Extended Credit Facility Arrangement on the Ghanaian Economy?

Forum Objectives

  • To assess the macro-economy (key indicators before and a year after Programme implementation) to ascertain whether or not progress made reflect the entire picture of the economy as well as issues of sustenance in the medium term.
  • To evaluate Programme impact on real sectors of the economy (agriculture, industry, etc.).
  • To review Quantitative Programme & Structural Reform Performance.
  • To examine how pro-poor or social interventions have fared under the IMF Programme.
  • To formulate policy recommendations to ensure Programme success.

Participants

The Forum will bring together 70 participants from Civil Society Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Academia, Ministry of Finance, Bank of Ghana, Faith-Based Organizations, Traditional Rulers, Trade Unions, Political Parties, Students, the Media and other organized groups.

There will be two paper presentations:

  • Presentation of Programme Monitoring Results.
  • Presentation on the state of Pro-Poor Interventions under the IMF Programme.

A panel will discuss the Monitoring Results presented followed by an open dialogue by participants. After which a communiqué will be agreed upon and issued by participants for consideration by government and the IMF.