Yes, Gov’t Shared Different Macroeconomic Data With Ghanaians and the IMF

On April 13, 2020, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a statement approving the disbursement of US$1 billion credit facility to the government of Ghana to be used to address the impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the economy.

The disbursement of the credit facility follows a request for financial support the government made through the Ministry of Finance to the IMF. Accompanying the statement issued by the IMF was a report containing data on the macro-economic situation of Ghana, which the Fund indicates are sourced from ‘Authorities of Ghana’ and ‘Staff of the Fund’.

The data contained in the IMF statement has provoked discussions in the media and public sphere as some have said the data presented to the IMF by the government are different from what it has been sharing with Ghanaians through budget statements.

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Following the public debate, has crosschecked the data submitted to the IMF by the authorities and what has been previously shared with Ghanaians and published by the Ministry of Finance. Based on the figures, we conclude that indeed, the data presented by the government to the IMF are different from those in budget statements.

The fact-checking team found disparities between the data published in the statement of the IMF and data from the Budget Statements of 2019 and 2020 that the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, presented to Parliament. The disparities are mainly with the following 2018 and 2019 indicators:

  1. Fiscal Deficit (in percent of GDP)
  2. Primary Balance
  3. Current Account Balance
  4. Gross International Reserves

Below is a table comparing the data on the above-mentioned indicators which are contained in page 24, paragraph 100, of the 2019 Budget Statement and page 18, point 71, of the 2020 Budget Statement against the data from the IMF statement (contained in page 3).

Indicator Data from Budget Statements Data from IMF Statement
  2018 2019 2018 2019
Fiscal Deficit (% of GDP) 3.0% 4.5% 7.0% 7.5%
Primary Balance (% of GDP) 0.5% -0.3% -1.4% -1.8%
Current Account Balance (% of GDP) -1.5% -1.2% -3.1% -2.7%
Gross International Reserves (millions of US $) 6,800 8,100 5,317 6,634

Source: Budget Statement of Ghana (2019, 2020) & IMF Statement (2020)


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