Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama wekend appealed to workers not to make demands that could derail an IMF assistance package in the run-up to elections next year.
The International Monetary Fund last month approved a three-year $918 million deal aimed at tackling Ghana’s wide public deficit, growing public debt and high inflation.
Mahama is expected to face a strong opposition challenge in a presidential election next year. The government overshot its 2012 budget deficit target by nearly 100 percent ahead of the last election, due in part to a larger-thananticipated wage bill.
The president said the success of the IMF programme depended on strict adherence to prescribed spending restrictions.
“This will require sacrifices on our part,” Mahama told workers at a Labour Day rally in the capital Accra. “This would also mean that government will have little room to manoeuvre in the face of demands from labour and our social partners.” For years Ghana grew at around 8 percent a year on the back of gold, cocoa and oil exports and it was rated one of Africa’s most attractive economies for investors because of its stable democracy and middle-income status. Since 2012, however, it has seen a downturn.
Mahama said the first $114.8 million tranche of the IMF package had already been disbursed, with the second due in coming days.
“This financial infusion will help slow the depreciation of the currency and help achieve macroeconomic stability,” he said.