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Kwesi Botchwey: Ghana, IMF Seal Deal Next Month   
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Ghana is expected to conclude a program with the International Monetary Fund by end of February this year.

This was revealed by the leader of the government’s team of negotiators talking with the IMF, Professor Kwesi Botchwey.

The country in September last year entered into negotiations with the Fund with the hope of securing a three -year program with the IMF. However due to some concerns raised by the EU, negotiations were briefly suspended.

The European Union raised issues with corruption and payroll fraud in the country’s public sector. The EU was reported as withholding a Ł135 million budget support to Ghana due to an alleged payroll corruption scandal it is investigating.
The issues raised by the IMF forced a brief suspension of the discussions with the Fund.

But Prof. Botchwey in an interview with Joy Business’ George Wiafe, said “The irony of this payroll dispute is that the revelations that came out which were seized upon outside as evidence of some kind of crisis and fraud…are revelations that came about as a result of initiatives that the President himself ordered.”

The issues had been discussed with the EU Delegation and an agreement reached.

Prof. Botchwey, therefore, believes Ghana seal a programme with the Washington-based lender by the end of February. This is necessary to in government’s own words, bring policy credibility to government’s policies and enhance stability in the economy.

The local economy remained largely wobbly last year with many indicators performing worse than anticipated. A historic depreciation of the local currency, the cedi, created a spiral in many respects even though the last quarter of the year saw some level of stability.

It is hoped that a programme with the IMF will strengthen the economy by introducing fiscal discipline which analyst believe has been lagging.
Source: The Al-Hajj

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