We are open to any new cut-off date China will offer on debt restructuring – Finance Minister

Source The Ghana Report

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has indicated that the country is open to any new cut-off date by the external creditors for the restructuring of Ghana’s external debt, particularly China.

According to him, the exercise needs to end to enable the country to access about $600 million credit facility under the International Monetary Fund second tranche bailout package.

One of Ghana’s major creditors, China is suggesting a March 2020 cut-off date for every loan given to Ghana, instead of the previously agreed-upon date of December 2022.

This delay has affected Ghana’s meeting with the IMF Board for the next tranche of $600 million inflow.

“The issue is for the membership of the Official Creditor Committee to get comfortable. We hope that by the end of next week, we will have what we need so that the Fund Board can sit”, he said.

According to him, the parties are seeking a level that may not impact extensively on their future operations.

“Everybody is looking at the comparability of treatment in there and China and France certainly are co-chairs, so they have a good impact on what will happen, but we should be okay,” he said.

Earlier, Minority Leader, Dr. Ato Forson, alleged that the negotiation has suffered a setback and the next $600 million package is in limbo.

“Mr. Speaker, it will interest you to know that there is a deadlock in the negotiation between Ghana and the International Official Creditors Committee (OCC) made up of China and the Paris Club 50. There is a major disagreement on the cut-off point, regarding the external debt that must be excluded from the restructuring. Mr. Speaker, I do not need to sound the alarm that at this point, Ghana is between a rock and a hard place.”

Government’s expectation

Earlier, the Finance Minister expressed optimism that the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would approve the second tranche of the country’s deal with the Fund before the end of the year.

“My deep sense is that we will get whatever is appropriate for the Fund Board to be able to make their decision in November. I am confident about it. And yes, we did meet with the officials from Paris Club and there was pretty positive assurance”, he said.

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