Ghana-Press-Review

Press focuses on assurance of positive outcome in discussions with IMF, others

APA – Accra (Ghana)

The assurance by President Akufo-Addo that the negotiations and subsequent agreement with the International Monetary Fund will herald a positive outlook for the economy of the country is one of the trending stories in the Ghanaian press on Wednesday.

The Graphic reports that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured Ghanaians that the negotiations and subsequent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) heralds a positive outlook for the economy of the country.

He gave the assurance that the government’s negotiation with the IMF was progressing steadily, and expressed the hope that he would have the opportunity to get the AGI's buy-in.

President Akufo-Addo gave the assurance yesterday when the executive members of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) were invited to the Jubilee House in Accra to be briefed about steps taken so far regarding the economy and the negotiations with the IMF.

It was also to indicate to them where the government had reached with the negotiations and have their inputs and buy-in.

“We are in the discussion and would conclude soon. These important negotiations will have an impact on the way forward for the Ghanaian economy in the months and immediate years ahead,” President Akufo-Addo stated.

He described invitation as basically a familiarisation programme and also to hear from industry leaders and receive their inputs.

The President of the AGI, Dr Humphrey Ayim-Darke, expressed the association’s trust in President Akufo-Addo’s “relentless efforts” to restore the economy to “its pride of place”.

He consequently pledged the association’s willingness to help resolve the current difficulties, saying “we recognise your relentless efforts to steer the economy to the pride of place and the desire to transform the economy to the best of your ability.”

The newspaper says that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has joined a host of world leaders who have congratulated the new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Sunak won the Tory leadership contest yesterday after rival Penny Mordaunt failed to secure enough backing from MPs.

In a series of tweets, President Akufo-Addo said he was hopeful that Sunak's tenure of office will strengthen and deepen even further the ties between Ghana and Great Britain.

He posted: "Warm congratulations to Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak, MP, (@RishiSunak) on becoming the 57th British Prime Minister in this difficult period of his country’s and the world’s fortunes.

"I am hopeful that his tenure of office will strengthen and deepen even further the ties of cooperation, collaboration and friendship between Ghana and Great Britain, and provide us with the platform to create progress and prosperity for our respective peoples.

"Congratulations, once again, and best wishes for his and his country’s success".

Mr Sunak, 42, is the UK's first British Asian prime minister and the youngest in more than 200 years.

His wife is Akshata Murty, the daughter of Indian billionaire Narayana Murthy. Mr Sunak himself has worked for investment bank Goldman Sachs and at two hedge funds. The Sunday Times Rich List estimates the couple's fortune to be worth about £730m. They have two daughters.

The Graphic also reports that the leadership of universal banks in the country and the Association of Forex Bureau Operators have agreed to work in close collaboration to stem the rapid depreciation of the Ghana cedi.

This comes on the heels of a high-profile meeting between the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the leadership of universal banks and the Association of Forex Bureau Operators in Accra on Tuesday, October 24, 2022.

The meeting, the first of a series of engagements, brought together stakeholders within the foreign exchange market to deliberate on how to streamline, sanitise and provide clarity on the supply of forex in the country.

In his opening remarks, the Governor of the BoG, Dr Ernest Addison, acknowledged that though the global economic meltdown occasioned by the geo-political tension between Russia and Ukraine had caused supply-demand imbalances in several commodity markets, high inflation, high-cost of living and high uncertainties in financial markets, the BoG was poised to work with relevant stakeholders to stabilise the foreign exchange market and help contain the fall in value of the cedi.

“Available data indicate that we started the year GH¢6 to the dollar. It got to GH¢7 and we stayed at GH¢7 in June, GH¢7.6 in July, GH¢8 in August, GH¢9.6 in September and now it is GH¢12.5. But we are here again with people sending messages that the dollar-cedi rate is GH¢15 to a dollar.

“Clearly, this type of movement does not deflect changes in the fundamentals. It is clear that the market is not functioning properly. We are seeing speculations taking over under very disorderly market conditions and it appears now the black market is rather driving exchange rates. This we cannot allow to continue,” he said.

Present at the meeting were Managing Directors of the GCB Bank PLC, Fidelity Bank, Ecobank, Societe General, Absa, Stanbic Ghana, First National Bank, and Bank of Africa, among others, as well as heads of the Association of Forex Bureau Operators.

The leadership of the banks blamed the rapid depreciation of the cedi on a wide array of issues.

Most prominently, they attributed it to the uncertainties surrounding the future of Ghanaian bonds.

They said the ongoing discussions between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $3 billion loan facility was increasing speculations over Ghana’s debt sustainability status.

Though the Bretton Woods institution has maintained that any talk of debt restructuring is dependent on an ongoing Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA), investors, according to the banks, had begun cutting their losses and moving their investments into safe havens, a move that was contributing to the rapid depreciation of the local currency.

The Ghanaian Times says that Some Members of the Majority Caucus in Parliament have called for the immediate dismissal of Ken Ofori-Atta as Minister for Finance by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The MPs also want the Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Chares Adu Boahen, to be sacked.

Numbering about 80, the MPs who constitute “a greater number of the Majority Caucus” have thus threatened to vote against all government businesses that will come before the House.

At a press conference addressed by the Asante Akyem North MP, Andy Appiah-Kubi, the MPs said Mr Ofori-Atta and Mr Boahen have ran the economy aground and must be shown the exit.

“Notice is hereby served that until such persons as aforementioned are made to resign or removed from office, we members of the Majority caucus here in parliament will not participate in any business of government by or for the President [or] by any other minister,” he vowed.

The MPs, Mr Appiah-Kubi said have had occasions to defend allegations of conflict of interest, lack of confidence, and trust against the leadership of the finance ministry but cannot continue as such.

The recent spiral depreciation of the Ghana Cedi and general developments within the economy, he said, was of great concern to the greater majority of members of the caucus and their constituents.

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament is pushing for a vote of censure on the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta in accordance with Article 82 of the 1992 constitution.

In a memorandum by the Minority Chief Whip Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka to the Speaker of Parliament, the minority said the Finance Minister was involved in despicable conflict of interest by ensuring that he directly benefitted from Ghana’s economic woes as his companies received commissions and other unethical contractual advantage from Ghana’s debt overhang.

The Minority described as unconstitutional withdrawal from the consolidated fund in blatant contravention of Article 178 of the 1992 constitution supposedly for the construction of the Presidential Cathedral.

They accused the Minister of Finance of illegal payment of oil revenues into offshore accounts in flagrant violation of Article 176 of the 1992 constitution.

The Minority further accused Mr Ofori-Atta of deliberate and dishonest misreporting of economic data to Parliament, fiscal recklessness leading to the crash of the Ghana cedi which is currently the worse performing currency in the world.

It said the alarming incompetence and frightening ineptitude of the minister resulting in the collapse of the Ghanaian economy and excruciating cost of living crisis.


GIK/APA

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