The Ghanaian government has been informed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it is not permitted to impose or increase import restrictions for the purpose of maintaining a balance of payments.
This is a commitment made in the IMF bailout package to provide Ghana with about $3 billion in balance of payments support between 2023 and 2026.
“No imposition or intensification of import restrictions for balance of payments reasons”, the Fund stressed on page 76 of the programme document. Amongst other things, there are four decisions the Government of Ghana cannot take while it is still under the IMF programme. These decisions align with performance criteria common to all Fund arrangements, which include:
- No imposition or intensification of restrictions on making payments and transfers for current international transactions.
- No introduction or modification of multiple currency practices.
- No conclusion of bilateral payments agreements inconsistent with Article VIII of the IMF Articles of Arrangement.
- No imposition or intensification of import restrictions for balance of payments reasons.
The Fund emphasized that there will be ongoing monitoring of these four performance criteria.
Surprisingly, on Thursday, the Ghanaian government decided not to bring the L.I. before parliament, which aimed to impose restrictions on the importation of 22 products on the list. It had made three unsuccessful attempts to present the bill to the house.
The Minority in Parliament urged President Akufo-Addo to revoke the regulation aimed at limiting the importation of fish, rice, cement, sugar, animal stomachs (known as “yemuadie”), guts, and bladders as soon as possible.
The regulation was pushed by Trade Minister K.T. Hammond, who hoped it would boost local industry growth and the cedi’s value.
As per the proposed regulation, authorization from the Trade Minister would have been necessary for anyone wishing to import the chosen products.