Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, has disclosed that Ghana has made significant progress in its discussions for debt treatment with the Paris Club and other bilateral creditors.
Official Creditor Committee
According to him, the Paris Club, together with other creditors including China, India, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey have agreed to form an Official Creditor Committee (OCC) on Ghana.
IMF Executive Board approval possible in May
He revealed that the Committee plans to deliver financing assurances to the International monetary Fund (IMF) as soon as possible to clear the path for an IMF Executive Board approval of Ghana’s programme by early May.
Positive engagements with China and Paris Club
Disclosing the outcome of engagements with China and Paris Club last week, Mr Ofori-Atta said discussions with the Chinese government on the country’s debt restructuring programme have been positive.
China to Co-chair the Official Creditor Committee
Mr Ofori-Atta, who led a high level government delegation made up of technical officials from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bank of Ghana to China last week, also requested for China to Co-chair the Official Creditor Committee.
$54bn total public debt stock
Ghana’s total public debt stock stands at $54 billion, out of which $28 billion is owed to foreign creditors.
Ghana owes China $1.9bn
Out of Ghana’s $8.5 billion bilateral loans, about $1.9 billion is owed to China.
$3bn staff-level agreement reached in December 2022
In December 2022, the government reached a staff-level agreement with the fund and is now left with board-level approval before it can access the $3 billion support.
Ghana seeking extension of maturities, debt servicing, lower interest rates
Information indicates that Ghana is seeking among other reliefs, an extension of the moratorium on debt servicing; an extension of maturities; and lower interest rates.
China expresses confidence in management of Ghana’s economy
The Finance Minister of China, Mr. Liu Kun, on his part said that his country has confidence in the management of the Ghanaian economy, and that his country felt a responsibility to be of help as Ghana seeks debt servicing relief.
At a meeting in Beijing, Mr. Kun said the Chinese authorities “have confidence in Ghana’s economic management and its long term economic viability.”
Expeditious treatment of Ghana’s request
Mr. Kun said he wanted to ensure that Ghana’s external debt treatment request was considered expeditiously and was thus accompanied to the meeting with Mr. Ofori-Atta by a high level delegation including Mr. Wu Fuli, Chairman of China Exim-Bank.
Committed to resolving challenges
Minister Kun said: “We know that these are short-term challenges which we, as responsible creditors, remain committed to resolving.”
Long standing and prosperous relationship
“The long standing and prosperous relationship between Ghana and China imposes on us a responsibility to help,” the Chinese Finance minister added.
Exogenous forces impacting Ghana’s economy
He said that just like other African countries, Ghana was facing economic difficulties from a once in a lifetime pandemic, geopolitical tensions and interest rates hikes in advanced countries with a contagion effect on developing countries.
The Chinese officials committed to help Ghana resolve the current short-term liquidity challenges and continue to support Ghana’s medium and long-term development aspirations.
China to push for more concessional and grant funding for Ghana
They said China believed in promoting debt sustainability and sustainable development, and would advocate for more concessional and grant funding for Ghana, especially at this time.
Multilateral Banks should do more for Ghana
“Ghana needs more concessional and grant fund from creditors,” said Mr. Zhang Wencai, Vice-President of China Exim bank, adding that “the Multilateral Banks should therefore do more for Ghana.”
Revenue bills in parliament
This week, all eyes are on Ghana’s parliament which will consider three key revenue measures whose approval is expected to rake in GH₵4.4 billion in domestic revenues.
It is one of the major actions on the part of Ghana, critical to trigger IMF Executive Board approval of a $3 billion facility for the country to ease its current economic difficulties.