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THE FOURTH NATIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM ON GHANA’S INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF) PROGRAMME

Date: Thursday July 13, 2017

Venue: Mensvic Hotel, East-Legon

Time: 8:30am

Theme: “Three Years into the IMF-Supported Extended Credit Facility Arrangement: Is the Ghanaian Economy on the Right Path?

CONCEPT NOTE

1.0       Background

Ghana’s economic environment became very unstable in 2014, with a fast depreciating currency, high debt burden 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 International Monetary Fund (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 essentially 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.

In past programmes with the IMF, there was very little citizens’ buy-in due mainly to the lack of space for citizens to share their views and thoughts on such important fiscal agreements even though citizens were ultimate bearers of agreements reached between Government and the IMF. Hence, the Civil Society Platform on Ghana’s IMF Programme was formed in November 2014 with support from STAR-Ghana and Oxfam, to advocate for civil society inclusiveness in major public financial management issues and in particular the IMF programme negotiations, implementation and monitoring in Ghana by creating dialogue spaces between CSOs, Government and the IMF.

The Platform’s membership includes: Financial Accountability & Transparency-Africa, IMANI Center for Policy & Education, 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, Centre for Budget Advocacy-Ghana, among others.

The Platform has been at the forefront of civil society engagements with the IMF and Government on the Fund Programme, putting across concerns of citizens during the negotiation stages and after the final agreement. To this end, three national fora on November 18, 2014 and June 16, 2015 and March 29, 2016 were organized to inform further advocacy on the IMF Programme as well as consultations with the IMF Mission during programme reviews.

From the outset, the Civil Society Platform has identified fiscal indiscipline in the management of public resources as responsible for the country’s economic woes. The Platform holds the conviction that, successful implementation of this Fund-supported programme would help instill the much needed discipline in the management of the country’s finances and hopefully take Ghana out of the woods.

The Civil Society Platform on the IMF Programme’s continued advocacy since November 2014 has resulted in the safeguard of social protection spending and passage of the new Public Financial Management Act, 2016  (Act 921), among other key structural and legal reforms under the IMF programme.

The third year of the IMF programme is underway in 2017 and with US$ 464.6 million, representing nearly half of the total programme loan of US$ 918 million disbursed at the end of the third programme review in October 2016, the Civil Society Platform considers the necessity to ascertain progress made over the past two years, highlight the gaps and make policy recommendations for the way forward whiles giving a position on whether there is justification or otherwise for programme extension beyond April 2018.

Hence, the Civil Society Platform with support from Oxfam is organizing the Fourth National Civil Society Forum on Ghana’s IMF Programme on the theme: “Three Years into the IMF-Supported Extended Credit Facility Arrangement: Is the Ghanaian Economy on the Right Path?” at the Mensvic Hotel, East-Legon on July 13, 2017.

2.0       Main Goal and Objectives

The main goal of the Forum is to assess the extent to which Ghana has met the programme targets over the last two years of the IMF Programme and to make recommendations on the way forward for the country.

The objectives are as follows:

  1. To assess the macro-economy (key indicators before and after Programme roll-out) to ascertain whether or not progress made reflect the entire picture of the economy as well as issues of sustenance in the medium to long term.
  2. To evaluate Programme impact on real sectors of the economy (agriculture, industry, etc.).
  3. To review Quantitative Programme & Structural Reform Performance.
  4. To examine how pro-poor or social interventions have fared under the IMF Programme.
  5. To ascertain whether overall programme objectives are attainable with less than a year remaining on the programme and whether there is need for extension beyond April 2018.
  6. To propose policy recommendations to enhance programme implementation success.

3.0       The Forum

3.1       Methodology

  1. Two consultants will be contracted to prepare professional papers on Ghana’s economic performance and Programme Monitoring Results for the discussion at the Forum;
  2. In addition, two discussants will comment on the paper (or a panel discussion of the Programme Monitoring Results);
  3. This will be followed by an open discussion by participants.
  4. Based on the paper and the subsequent discussions, a communiqué will be issued for consideration by Government and the IMF.

3.2       The Expected Outcomes/Impact

The forum is expected to:

  1. Present an assessment of the IMF Programme roll-out to date.
  2. Make useful recommendations that will enhance fiscal responsibility in the management of the country’s finances and ensure programme implementation success.
  3. Provide justification or otherwise for IMF programme extension beyond April 2018.
  4. Inform further advocacy and engagements on the Fund programme between CSOs, Government and the Fund.

3.3       Forum Participants

  1. The Forum will bring together 50 participants from Civil Society Organizations, Academia, Parliamentarians, Ministry of Finance, Bank of Ghana, Donor Partners, Faith-Based Organizations, Traditional Rulers, Trade Unions, Political Parties, Students, the Media and other organized groups.  All are cordially invited!!!