The government is making progress on the external debt negotiations for debt relief from the country's international creditors as part of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has said.
"I want to express our appreciation to the members of the Paris Club and to the Peoples' Republic of China for the co-operation they have so far exhibited to us in attempting to reach an agreement, and in their attempt to establish an Official Credit Committee," the President said in Accra yesterday when he presented the State of the Nation address to Parliament.
The government as part of the IMF programme, which started in July last year, announced an external debt service suspension on December 19 , 2022 for certain categories of external debt to ensure an orderly restructuring.
President Akufo-Addo said he was confident that with the co-operation of the Paris Club and the Peoples' Republic of China, Ghana would meet the March deadline of going to the Fund, adding that, "We look forward to their fast-tracking the needed financing assurances for the IMF's approval".
He said the restructuring of the country's domestic and external debts formed part of measures to put the country on the path of debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability.
On the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP), President Akufo-Addo said the participation rate of 85 per cent, representing tendered bonds of GH¢83 billion out of the total eligible bonds of GH¢97.75 billion, constituted significant success for the DDE Programme.
"The GH¢83 billion bonds that were successfully tendered, also represents 64 per cent of the outstanding domestic debt stock of GH¢130 billion at the end of December 2022, as pension funds have been expressly exempted from the DDEP," he stated.
President Akufo-Addo commended Parliament for its support to the DDEP programme, including the passage of key revenue laws.
He, however, entreated Parliament to pass some outstanding revenue measures, namely Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, Excise Duty and Excise Tax Stamp (Amendment) Bills, as well as the Growth and Sustainability Levy Bill.
"The outstanding revenue measures need the urgent attention of the House and passage to complete the prior actions of the IMF Programme. This will put us in readiness for our presentation to the Fund Board, and, more importantly, bolster our domestic revenue mobilisation efforts," President Akufo-Addo stated.
President Akufo-Addo commended organised labour, pensioners, pension fund managers, the Ghana Association of Banks, Ghana Securities Industry Association, Ghana Insurers Association, the Individual Bond Holders and Retirees Forum, and all others who have contributed to make the DDEP a success.
He said the 3-year IMF Programme for $3billion balance of payment support, anchored on Government's Post COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG), was aimed at restoring macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability, while protecting the vulnerable.