IMF exonerates gov’t over debt-to-GDP controversy

mahamaThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) has clarified a statement by its Deputy Director of Fiscal Affairs Department Sanjeev Gupta, which contradicted figures from the Bank of Ghana about the country’s real debt to GDP ratio.

On October 8, at a press briefing on the Fiscal Monitor, IMF’s Deputy Director of Fiscal Affairs Department, Sanjeev Gupta said Ghana’s debt to GDP was actually 71% contrary to the 55% put out by the government.

His statement created apprehension among Ghanaians and a member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Kwaku Kwarteng said it confirmed his suspicion that government had been lying to the IMF about the true state of Ghana’s economy and the country’s macro economic figures.

But in a release from the Communications Department of the IMF, copied to and signed by Ismaila Dieng, the IMF clarified that Sanjeev Gupta’s statement was rather their projected figure for 2015.

“The latest actual figure available to IMF staff for end-2013 is equivalent to 56 percent of GDP, consistent with the figures released by the Bank of Ghana.”

The statement further said: “The number (71%) corresponds to the level projected at end-2015 under our baseline scenario published in the World Economic Outlook, which assumes the continuation of current economic policies (very gradual fiscal adjustment in 2015, a more depreciated exchange rate, and lower growth related to remaining high vulnerabilities).”

Industry players had warned government to present the true state of the economy to the IMF after a former Deputy Governor of the central bank challenged the inflation and exchange rate figures put out by the central bank and the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).

Dr. Bawumia alleged that the level of hardship, and the cost of living for Ghanaians did not correspond with the picture government painted about the economy.

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