President Nana Akufo-Addo on Friday urged Germany to “encourage” China, an ad hoc member of the Paris Club, to support Ghana’s debt restructuring efforts.
He said it is critical that the Paris Club swiftly establishes, with the participation of other official creditors, a creditors committee, to support the efforts that would enable Ghana to restore economic growth.
The President made the call when the visiting German Finance Minister, Christian Lindner called on him at the Jubilee House, Accra.
Linden, who was the head of a delegation from his country, held bilateral talks with the President aimed at boosting relations and economic ties between the two nations.
President Akufo-Addo told the Minister that the main concern for his government is to conclude negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), particularly at the Board Level and seal a deal with the Bretton Woods institution by mid-March this year.
“Our main concern right now is the arrangements that we are in the process of concluding with the IMF… and the specific assistance that will be useful to us and help us fast-track the process.
“Our target is that by the middle of March, we should be before the Board for the full agreement. We have already taken one important step forward in concluding a staff-level agreement with the IMF and we are now looking to go the full haul in concluding the agreement. We are hoping that it will be done by the middle of March.
“One of the steps towards that has been the domestic debt exchange programme that we are on, which unfortunately, we have quite a lot of difficulties, but has now been virtually concluded,” he stated.
However, President Akufo-Addo stressed, that there is a vital need for other creditors to support the efforts that his government is undertaking to restructure both the external and domestic debts of the country, to enable the IMF deal to go through quickly.
“We now have our relations with the Paris Club and the common framework, and we are looking for as quickly as possible a creditor committee to be established, so we will have the body with whom we can engage to bring those discussions as quickly as possible.
“We have good relations with China. We will like you to encourage China to participate in these programmes as quickly as possible…A very important consideration for us is the financial stability fund that has been promised us as one of the key outcomes of these negotiations and definitely once again, your voice in trying to bring that into being is something that we would appreciate very much,” President Akufo-Addo told Finance Minister Lindner.
The President commended the German government for extending support to Ghana to enable her overcome the current economic difficulties.
He said the German government had proven to be a reliable ally and Ghana would continue to count on the European nation as “a privileged partner” as the country seeks a bailout from the IMF.
IMF last December reached a Staff-Level Agreement on a $3 billion, three years Extended Credit Facility with Ghana to relieve its debt distress. The approval of the package is however subject to Ghana comprehensively restructuring its domestic and external debts.
The President in further discussions with the German delegation praised the German government for supporting peace efforts in the West African region.
He was particularly distressed about the spillover of terrorism from the Sahel region and the instability posed by cross-border terrorism in West Africa.
Currently, there are some 4,000 Burkinabe citizens seeking refuge in Ghana following attacks by suspected terrorists and militants in Burkina Faso.
“We are directly in the line of fire. Burkina Faso is our northern neighbour and to have the jihadist menace there, which is very real, I think in the last six weeks some 4,000 young people from Burkina Faso have come to take refuge here in Ghana and those are the ones that the Refugee Board can officially count.
“And usually, in these matters, you have to add another third of the numbers coming in, unaccounted for, so we are talking about substantial numbers of people who are already coming southwards as a result of the difficulties in Burkina Faso to Ghana.
“So we have a direct important strategic interest in doing whatever we can to bring this insurgency to an end and help in stabilizing the government in Burkina Faso and in that exercise you have been very useful and helpful to us,” he said.
On his part, Mr Lindner said the German government would do whatever it can to support West African deal with its issues.
“We know that the stability and security in this region of Africa are essential for our security in Europe and we see economic challenges in Ghana but opportunities for bilateral trade and this is why we are here,” he said.
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