Free SHS And Other Programmes Safe Under $3 Billion IMF Bailout: Finance Minister Assures

Free SHS And Other Programmes Safe Under $3 Billion IMF Bailout: Finance Minister Assures

  • The finance minster has given the assurance that the free SHS programme will not be affected under the $3 billion IMF programme
  • Ken Ofori-Atta gave the assurance on Thursday, May 18, 2023, during a press conference organised by the IMF and the government of Ghana
  • He said the programme with the Bretton Woods institution is clear on protecting vulnerable in the Ghanaian society

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Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta has said the government's flagship social intervention programmes like the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy won't be discontinued or altered under the $3 billion IMF programme.

The programme received the approval of the IMF Executive Board this week and the first part of the loan, some $600 million, is expected to hit the accounts of the Bank of Ghana soon.

There have been concerns that social intervention programmes the Free SHS, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) and infrastructure projects like the Agenda 111 to build hospitals would be affected by IMF conditionalities for the loan.

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Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta says the Free SHS will not be affected.
Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta captured here addressing the media during a previous press conference. Source: Facebook/@ministryoffinanceghana
Source: Facebook

However, during an IMF-finance ministry-BoG joint press conference on Thursday, May 18, 2023, the finance minister gave the assurance that the social intervention programmes and other critical infrastructure projects would proceed as before.

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“We protecting the vulnerable is very clear in the programme. We are doubling the LEAP programme to ensure the welfare support continues, we should not worry at all," he said.
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Minority warns Ghanaians to get ready for the worst under the IMF programme

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has told Ghanaians to brace for harsh economic shocks that would be triggered by the three-year IMF programme.

Minority Leader, Cassiel Ato Forson, said in a statement that many of the conditionalities attached to the bailout deal could have been avoided if the government heeded their call to go to the Fund earlier in 2022.

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Cedi performs better against US dollar over news of IMF bailout cash disbursement

"Already, the IMF has identified the scrapping of tax exemptions, adjustment of levies on fuel, and an increase in income tax as some measures the Ghanaian government could implement to boost revenue mobilisation under its $3 billion support programme," the statement said.

Ghana cedi outperforms other currencies against dollar ahead of disbursement of IMF cash reported in a separate story that the Ghana cedi has been found to be performing strongly against the US dollar following news that Ghana's IMF bailout request will be successful.

Bloomberg, for instance, reports that the local currency has made a remarkable 33% gain since November last year.

Currently, the Ghana Association of Forex Bureau Operators quotes a GH¢11 selling price for $1 and a GH¢10 buying price.

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