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30 July 2016

Donors withhold $484m: Minority says it could hit economy hard; Source: BFT

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Spokesperson for the Minority caucus in Parliament, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei

The Spokesperson for the Minority caucus in Parliament, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, has expressed concern over the hold-up of some US$484 million of donor funds, following government’s inability to meet conditions for disbursement.

The hold-up of the funds coming from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multi-donor agencies could hit the economy hard if government does not take steps to receive them, the MP for Old Tafo said at a press conference to respond to Seth Terkper’s supplementary budget.

The situation, he said, is particularly distressing especially as the country heads to the crucial December polls.

“Already, US$75million budget support is locked up by the World Bank. The Africa Development Bank has also delayed US$49 million,” he said.

“Government may have to go and borrow to pay salaries if the monies are not forthcoming. An amount of US$116million from IMF is going to be del

ayed. The IMF doesn’t work alone, their partners are the World Bank, and AfDB. The budget support from the World Bank will be delayed, the budget support from AfDB will be delayed, but all of this is in the , minister’s programme and it is not going to come anytime soon,” Dr Akoto Osei explained.

“And here we are, a country preparing for elections. The EC does not have enough money we know, but because the government has signed this and they have not been able to do it, Parliament is being asked to save the government but there is still going to be a cost.”

Ghana is awaiting

US$ 116million fr om the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a third tranche of the US$ 918 million Extended Credit Facility, but reports say the top brass from the lending agency and officials from Ghana have to meet to approve the disbursement.

The IMF board, Dr. Akoto Osei said, is scheduled to meet either end-August or early- September where the approval for the third disbursement will be given. “It is not the best, no government should be asked to go on’ its knees; that is where we

Energy crisis and matters arising

Dr. Akoto Osei said the ongoing power crisis is ‘purely financial’ and that it has nothing to do with the country’s generation capacity.

“The President is engaged in questionable power procurements. Our dedicated state-owned power infrastructure from which revenue is generated by our utilities is collapsing. The poor maintenance and management of our generation plants has weakened the sector, further undermining long-term expansion and energy security, whilst demand for electricity grows at 12 percent annually. Ghana’s industrialization agenda is clearly in danger.”

On the country’s debt stock and debt sustainability, Dr Akoto Osei stated that: “A slowdown in the rate of growth of debt is because Ghana’s cup is literally full. When a cup is empty, you can add a lot of water to it quickly, but as it gets full the rate at which you can add the water and the quantity of water you can add inevitably reduces. This is not rocket science,” he said.

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