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IMF bailout: Free SHS, Agenda 111 will not be suspended — Finance Ministry

IMF bailout: Free SHS, Agenda 111 will not be suspended — Finance Ministry.

The Ministry of Finance has indicated that Ghana going to the IMF will not necessarily mean government policies like the Free SHS and Agenda 111 will cease to operate.

It is widely argued that an IMF bailout can lead to the suspension of some major programmes of government that are overburdening the economy.

In a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) statement released by the Ministry on July 4 sighted by Modern Ghana News, the ministry noted that IMF programmes were flexible and would not attack programmes designed to help the poor.

It noted that Free SHS, school feeding and other social intervention programmes are beneficial to the poor.

In Ghana’s situation, the Ministry ascertains that the IMF would only ask that ‘white projects’ be suspended and not social programmes that are of essence.

“Will Free SHS and some of the big government policies (such as Agenda 111) be suspended by going to the IMF?

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“NO. IMF programmes are flexible in response to evolving circumstances. Ultimately, the IMF encourages governments in their programme design to protect the poor or vulnerable groups from the impact fiscal adjustment. Free SHS, the School Feeding programme, among others are good social intervention programmes and it is the lack of financing and unsustainable debt burdens that could constrain a government’s ability to maintain its level of spending, including social or investment spending. In our situation, the IMF may ask Ghana to consider curtailing lower priority or non-productive spending (such as “white elephant” projects) as part of its fiscal adjustment but to preserve priority social spending, including on health and education. The objectives are typically aimed at providing a social safety net for the poor and ensuring that investment spending boosts the economy at a critical time,” the statement read.

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