Finance Minister, Seth Tekpeh

Finance Minister, Seth Tekpeh

Despite some speculations that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may delay government in issuing a billion dollar Eurobond this year, Finance Minister, Mr. Seth Terkper has assured that government will make all efforts to get the facility in order to propel the infrastructural development needed by the country.

The concern over the issuance of the bond follows the IMF?s call to government to cut down on Ghana?s rising public debt stock as it hits 76.1billion cedis.

Already, an IMF team in Ghana has commenced the first review of the 918 million dollar credit facility approved for the country, while it assess the impact of  the 114 million dollars that was released to the Central Bank in a first tranche to help stabilize some macro-economic indicators such as inflation and the exchange rate.

In a response, Mr. Terkper told the Business Day that the IMF is not against government?s intention to issue the Eurobond  since government will require part of the facility to refinance the 2007 Eurobond before it matures in 2017 to save Ghana from incurring more roll-over debts.

According to him, government?s intention to issue the Eurobond is also aimed at completing some projects that were commenced with short term securities while it clears off all short term domestic debt instruments.

Mr. Terkper explained that the move will further aid government to finance commercial and self-sustaining projects with long term facilities in other to give government a breathing space while the projects pay for themselves.

He added that the bond will prevent government from borrowing from the domestic money market, thereby reducing ?crowding out? of the private sector to enable small and medium enterprises have access to funds.

?Government is fully aware of the rising debt stock and we have taken pragmatic measures to clear all our domestic debt, at the same time maintaining infrastructural development. These indicators have to be taken in total to understand the dynamics?, he said.

Mr. Seth Tekper maintained that Ghana has made significant progress with regards to the conditions of the IMF and hopefully, the country will pass its first review.

He mentioned for instance that, the wage bill and subsidies have greatly improved in the first quarter report of the economy.

He stated that government has been able to put a lot of developments on the policy front with the Finance Ministry moving closer to deregulating the downstream petroleum sector.

?We are also implementing the Ghana Revenue Authority?s modernization reform and the public financial management reform; the significant development there is that the World bank has approved the loan to continue those reforms?, he said.

Meanwhile, latest figures released by the Ghana Statistical Service pegs the nation?s value of goods and services at current prices for the first quarter of 2015 at GH?27,512.8 million.

Releasing the figures, Government Statistician, Dr. Philomena Nyarko explained that the revised figure for the fourth of 2014 recorded GH?29, 2237.7million.

?In constant terms, the first quarter 2015 GDP is estimated at GH?7,673.3 million. For the fourth quarter 2014, the estimate was GH?9,185.4 million?, she said.

She stated that the year-on year quarterly GDP growth rate for the first quarter of 2015 recorded  4.1 percent compared to a revised rate of -3.8 percent for the first quarter of 2014.

?The quarter-on quarter GDP growth rate (seasonally adjusted) recorded for the first quarter of 2015 was 0.9 percent. The revised figure recorded for the fourth quarter of 2014 was 1.2 percent?, she said, adding that the revised annual GDP estimate for 2014 at current prices hit GH?113, 34343 million.

Dr. Nyarko stated that in constant terms, the 2014 revised annual GDP is recorded GH?33,521.9 million, while the revised annual GDP growth rate for 2014 remained at 4.0 percent.

By LAWRENCE SEGBEFIA

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