After several negotiations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has finally granted approval for a Special Drawing Rights of 2.242 billion, equivalent to $3 billion, to the Republic of Ghana. Its democracy and economic development down the years have been considered as model for Africa, but surprisingly under the current administration headed by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, due to gross mismanagement and inappropriate use of budgetary funds have created deep economic crisis. The government has consistently blamed Covid-19 and Russia-Ukraine crisis for its economic predicament.
As part of the IMF deal, committed to implementing a number of post-pandemic programmes to build resilience and lay the foundation for stronger economic growth, including “an ambitious structural reform agenda” to reinvigorate private sector-led growth by “improving the business environment, governance and productivity.”
Historically the Government of Ghana has contracted various loans from People’s Republic of China (PRC) purposely to undertake various projects, since it took over political administration from the sustainable economic development committed National Democratic Congress (NDC), as President of the Republic Ghana in 2017. As world-wide business rules, it offered its part of its resources as collateral security, failure to repay contracted loans requires seizure of the property.
Reports have now emerged May 23, making authentic reference to the IMF that China would take over Ghana’s mineral revenue and electricity sales in default of four (4) loans. The report by the IMF on Ghana’s external debts shows that should Ghana fail to honour obligations under the loan agreement with China, it could lose revenue from its mineral resource and electricity sales.
Details of Ghana’s collateralised loans from China show that the Asian country could have the right to use proceeds from Ghana’s oil, cocoa, bauxite or even the sales from electricity to settle the debt China owns about two-thirds of all of Ghana’s external loans, making the Asian superpower an important party in discussions about Ghana’s loans.
The IMF has published details on Ghana’s four collateralised Chinese loans in a report compiled in connection with the $3 billion bailout programme. The report shows that should Ghana fail to honour obligations under the loan agreement with the Asian economic superpower, it could lose revenue from its mineral resource and electricity sales.
According to the report by Joy News, in about 20 years, Ghana has borrowed close to $5 billion from, at least, 41 Chinese loan facilities. Per data released by the IMF, China would also have the right to use proceeds from Ghana’s oil, cocoa, bauxite or even the sales from electricity to settle the debt. This is because Ghana contracted the loans by collateralising some eight national assets. Ghana owes China $1.9 billion, but $619 million of this amount is collateralised.
An outspoken TV personality Captain Smart predicted that Ghana could lose some critical national assets to China over a huge debt to the Asian country. The outspoken journalist mentioned the Tema Harbour, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Kotoka International Airport (KIA) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) as the likely assets that Ghana could lose. It owes China billions of dollars, which represents about a third of all its foreign debts. Captain Smart of Onua TV said a similar takeover of national assets by China has occurred in Uganda, Zambia and Sri Lanka.
In another media report monitored by this author, Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta has visited China for debt support talks. He said, at the time, that the visit to China was important because amid Ghana’s financial and economic challenges, China represents about a third of the $5.7 billion Ghana owes externally. The loans granted by the IMF, $600 million represents the first disbursement out of the $3 billion loan hit the accounts of the Bank of Ghana last week.
In any case, there are a few important facts President Nana Akufo-Addo has said about IMF bailout. Monitoring media reports, for instance, YEN.com.gh reported in a related story that President Nana Akufo-Addo spoke for the first time about the IMF bailout during a mammoth rally held in the city Kumawu located in the Ashanti Region.
According to him, it is not true that he mismanaged the economy and run to the IMF because 29 other countries have signed up for various programmes with the Fund. He also promised that before he concludes the end of his tenure in 2024, he would have fulfilled all his promises to Ghanaians and put the economy in a much better shape with the leverage to the IMF $3 billion.
Bank of Ghana (BoG) Governor Dr. Ernest Addison has informed that a comprehensive strategy to revive the nation’s financial sector is being readied for the end of June, as part of the $3 billion facility being provided by the International Monetary Fund. The proposed reforms aim to strengthen the sector, restore market confidence and promote lending to the private sector – while commercial banks, special deposit-taking institutions and other regulated entities must submit plans for recapitalisation.
As of 2019, Ghana was the 7th largest producer of gold in the world. It is a leading producer and exporter of cocoa to Europe. It is the 2nd largest producer of cocoa globally. According to the President Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghana was “the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve the goal of halving poverty, as contained in Goal 1 of the Millennium Development Goals.” The Republic of Ghana, with a population of over 32 million, is located on the coast of West Africa.