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Press Release No. 99/16
May 3, 1999
International Monetary Fund
700 19th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20431 USA

IMF Approves ESAF Loan for Ghana

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a three-year loan for Ghana under the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF),1 equivalent to SDR 155 million (about US$209.4 million) to support the government’s economic reform program for 1999–2001. The loan will be disbursed in seven installments, the first equivalent to SDR 22.16 million (about US$29.9 million) and will be available immediately.

Background

Ghana has made significant progress in reducing macroeconomic imbalances since 1997 while implementing structural reforms. In 1998, real GDP growth increased from 4.2 percent in 1997 to 4.6 percent despite the drought related energy crisis, and inflation fell to 16 percent from 21 percent at end-1997. Real interest rates dropped sharply, the overall budget deficit declined, and the external current account improved. The value-added tax was introduced at the end of 1998, and the separate governing boards of the tax agencies were replaced by a central revenue board. While progress was made on structural reforms, key measures in the energy and cocoa sectors were delayed.

Medium-Term Strategy and the 1999 Program

The main objectives of the 1999–2001 program are to consolidate the achievements already made in macroeconomic stability and accelerate the pace of structural reform. Real GDP growth is projected to increase to 6 percent. The government intends to bring inflation down to 5 percent or less, reduce the current account deficit, including grants, to 2.5 percent of GDP, and bring gross official reserves to the equivalent of three months of imports.

The objectives of the 1999 program are to obtain real GDP growth of 5.5 percent, end-of-period inflation of 9 percent, an external current account deficit, including grants, of about 2.5 percent of GDP, and gross official reserves equivalent to three months of imports. To achieve these objectives, domestic budget financing will be limited to about 2.8 percent of GDP and the primary domestic balance is expected to show a surplus of about 3.5 percent of GDP. Monetary growth in 1999 will support the inflation and balance of payments objectives.

Structural Reforms

Ghana intends to take significant steps to liberalize the cocoa and energy sectors, accelerate the divestiture of state enterprises, and strengthen the banking system. Public sector reforms will be carried out to limit the scope of government to core areas, in particular,agriculture, the social sectors, and basic infrastructure. The medium-term cocoa strategy aims to ensure that Ghana remains a leading cocoa producer in the next decade and raise incomes in the rural sector. Further trade liberalization will help increase the efficiency of the economy. As private sector activity is boosted by rising confidence and expanding business opportunities, such as in nontraditional exports, the share of private investment in GDP is expected to rise by more than 3 percentage points over 1999–2001.

Addressing Social Needs

Ghana’s economic program emphasizes education and health, since the government believes the levels of growth required to reduce poverty will be difficult to achieve without significant increases in labor productivity. Expenditure programs have been designed for education and health, and are being implemented with donor support. An important element is the development of a monitoring system to ensure that increased expenditures accomplish better results. Improvements in agriculture and rural development are crucial for reducing poverty in the rural sector. A national poverty-reduction plan for 1999–2001 is being prepared in collaboration with donors.

The Challenge Ahead

Strong macroeconomic performance will depend on further fiscal consolidation and public sector reforms. Limits on government borrowing, both domestically and externally, particularly on nonconcessional terms, will also be important to ensure that interest costs and government debt remain sustainable. While macroeconomic stability is an important element of the government’s medium-term program, the objective of making Ghana a middle-income country within one generation cannot be attained without decisive structural transformation. Implementation of reforms in the cocoa sector, strengthening of the financial sector, and divestiture of large enterprises are essential to the success of its economic program.

Ghana joined the IMF on September 20, 1957. Its quota2 is SDR 369.0 million (about US$498.6 million) and its outstanding use of IMF resources currently totals SDR 230.1 million (about US$310.9 million) at end-February 1999.


Ghana: Selected Economic and Financial Indicators 1996-2001










1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001




Prog.

Prel.

Prog.

Prog.

Prog.










(Annual percentage change, unless otherwise specified)

National income and prices








Real GDP

4.6

4.2

5.6

4.6

5.5

6.0

6.0

Real GDP per capita

1.8

1.5

2.8

1.8

2.7

3.2

3.2

Nominal GDP

46.3

24.5

25.1

23.0

14.6

13.7

12.2

GDP deflator

39.8

19.5

20.6

17.6

8.6

7.4

5.9

Consumer price index (annual average)

46.6

27.9

15.5

19.3

10.0

6.4

5.0

Consumer price index (end of period)

32.7

20.8

11.0

15.8

9.0

5.0

5.0









External sector








Exports, f.o.b.

9.9

-5.2

9.7

22.8

2.7

12.8

13.8

Imports, f.o.b.

15.0

9.9

9.8

4.0

1.8

9.3

10.4

Export volume

12.5

-0.7

7.5

16.3

3.5

9.2

7.8

Import volume

13.8

14.4

10.3

24.5

7.1

6.2

6.2

Terms of trade

-3.3

-0.7

2.6

26.4

4.3

0.3

1.5

Nominal effective exchange rate1

-26.8

-14.7

...

-9.2

...

...

...

Real effective exchange rate1

12.2

7.2

...

7.8

...

...

...

Cedis per U.S. dollar1

1,637

2,050

...

2,314

...

...

...









Government budget








Domestic revenue

26.1

22.5

30.4

29.8

17.7

14.4

13.2

Total expenditure

42.8

19.8

25.3

22.7

7.4

9.0

6.6

Current expenditure

46.5

22.7

18.9

31.4

3.8

4.2

7.7

Capital expenditure and net lending2

38.6

16.4

35.3

11.4

12.8

15.8

5.3









Money and credit3








Net domestic assets4

32.3

33.5

9.5

15.5

8.6

11.7

7.3

Credit to government4

12.8

22.0

9.2

10.5

5.4

...

...

Credit to the rest of the economy4

15.7

20.9

5.3

13.0

8.1

...

...

Broad money (including foreign currency deposits)

39.7

40.8

18.0

17.7

14.6

13.7

12.2

Reserve money

44.3

33.4

17.0

16.7

11.4

11.2

10.9

Velocity (GDP/average broad money)

5.6

4.9

5.0

4.4

4.4

4.4

4.4

Treasury bill rate (in percent; end of period)

42.8

40.0

...

26.8

...

...

...




(In percent of GDP, unless otherwise specified)

Investment and saving








Gross investment

21.5

24.1

17.9

22.9

23.7

24.7

25.4

Private

8.2

11.7

5.5

11.6

12.6

13.4

14.8

Public

13.3

12.4

12.4

11.3

11.1

11.3

10.6

Gross national saving

16.7

15.4

13.7

19.4

20.8

22.2

23.0

Private

13.7

15.0

8.3

16.2

15.2

15.5

16.0

Public

3.0

0.4

5.4

3.2

5.6

6.6

7.0









Government budget








Domestic revenue

17.6

17.3

18.3

18.3

18.8

18.9

19.1

Total grants

2.6

1.4

2.9

2.2

2.4

2.0

1.7

Total expenditure2

29.7

28.6

27.5

28.6

26.8

25.6

24.4

Overall balance (commitment basis)

-9.5

-9.9

-6.3

-8.1

-5.5

-4.7

-3.6

Domestic primary balance

0.3

3.2

3.8

3.6

3.5

3.6

3.7

Divestiture receipts

1.3

0.7

0.8

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.2









External sector








Current account balance5

-4.7

-8.8

-4.2

-3.5

-2.9

-2.5

-2.4

External debt outstanding

84.2

82.5

95.2

79.2

76.9

74.6

71.4

External debt service, including to the IMF

8.9

7.6

8.7

7.5

6.2

6.7

5.3

(in percent of exports of goods and nonfactor services)

35.7

31.6

33.2

28.1

24.5

24.7

18.7

(in percent of government revenue)

38.7

44.9

38.1

34.7

29.8

26.2

20.3




(In millions of U.S. dollars, unless otherwise specified)

Current account balance5

-328

-603

-290

-261

-234

-211

-227

Overall balance of payments

-14

25

119

99

77

34

88

External payments arrears (end of period)

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Gross international reserves (end of period)

591

508

478

502

561

616

730

(in months of imports, c.i.f.)

4.4

2.6

2.7

2.5

2.7

2.8

3.0









Use of IMF resources








Purchases/disbursements

27

41

110

111

61

60

60

Repurchases/repayments

86

-165

137

105

78

39

35

Credit outstanding

377

354

317

321

316

337

362









Quota (in millions of SDR’s)

274

274

274

274

369

...

...

Nominal GDP (in billions of cedis)

11,339

14,113

17,655

17,357

19,885

22,619

25,378









Sources: Ghanaian authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

1Annual average data.

2Including capital outlays financed through external project aid and transfers to the local authorities.

3From December 1996, the coverage was increased from 11 to 17 banks.

4In percent of broad money at the beginning of the period.

5Including official grants.


1 The ESAF is a concessional IMF facility for assisting eligible members that are undertaking economic reform programs to strengthen their balance of payments and improve their growth prospects. ESAF loans carry an interest rate of 0.5 percent a year and are repayable over 10 years with a 5 year grace period.
2 A member’s quota in the IMF determines, in particular, the amount of its subscription, its voting weight, its access to IMF financing, and its share in the allocation of SDRs.

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