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Free SHS won’t be affected by IMF programme – Finance Minister

The Ministry of Finance has said that the implementation of the Free Senior High School Programme and other projects such as the Agenda 111 will not be affected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

The Ministry explained in a document that IMF programmes are flexible in response to evolving circumstances.
Ultimately, it said, the IMF encourages governments in their programme design to protect the poor or vulnerable groups from the impact fiscal adjustment.

“Free SHS, the School Feeding programme, among others are good social intervention programmes and it is the lack of financing and unsustainable debt burdens that could constrain a government’s ability to maintain its level of spending, including social or investment spending.
“In our situation, the IMF may ask Ghana to consider curtailing lower priority or non-productive spending (such as “white elephant” projects) as part of its fiscal adjustment but to preserve priority social spending, including on health and education.
“The objectives are typically aimed at providing a social safety net for the poor and ensuring that investment spending boosts the economy at a critical time. However, Government in its Enhanced Domestic Programme has started a review of these programmes to see
how best they can be optimized and become more efficient.”

The IMF staff team, led by Carlo Sdralevich, mission chief for Ghana, is expected to hold its first meeting with with the Ghanaian authorities about a possible IMF-supported programme, today Wednesday July 6.
The Government of Ghana on Friday July 1 announced that it was seeking support from the IMF.

This followed a telephone conversation between the President and the IMF Managing Director, Miss Kristalina Georgieva, conveying Ghana’s decision to engage with the Fund, a statement by the Ministry of Information said.
Accordingly, the IMF team led by Mr. Sdralevich arrived in the country on Tuesday July 5.

In a statement Mr. Sdralevich said “On the basis of a request from the Ghanaian authorities, an IMF staff team will in the coming days kick-start discussions on a possible program to support Ghana’s homegrown economic policies. We are at an early stage in the process, given that detailed discussions are yet to take place.”
“The IMF stands ready to assist Ghana to restore macroeconomic stability, safeguard debt sustainability, and promote inclusive and sustainable growth, and address the impact of the war in Ukraine and the lingering pandemic.”

“We are looking forward to our engagement with the authorities in Accra,” the Fund said.

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