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Ghana seeks to speed up debt restructuring negotiations

GHANA wants to speed up remaining debt restructuring negotiations, its finance minister said, as the government pushes for a deal to rework over $13 billion of international bonds.

The West African country has been overhauling its debts as it tries to emerge from its worst economic crisis in a generation with the help of a $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

The government reached a deal in principle in January to restructure $5.4 billion of loans with official creditors. It has since started formal talks with one bondholder group under non-disclosure agreements, Reuters reported about two weeks ago, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Finance Minister Mohammed Amin Adam told a news conference that the government had received counter-proposals from two bondholder groups that would be assessed.

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“Government has received counter-proposals on the debt treatment scenarios from the two bondholder groups,” he said.

“In the coming weeks, government and our advisors will start extensive discussions with bondholder representatives to advance restructuring engagements.”

The minister said Ghana’s government had concluded negotiations with independent power producers (IPPs) and would be signing an agreement with them over the next two to three weeks.

The IPPs had rejected a proposal to restructure $1.58 billion in arrears owed them by the state. They received an interim payment offer in July, allowing them to continue working with the government towards a permanent resolution to the debt issue.

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“The signing of this agreement will allow us to spread the arrears over some years, maybe five years, to provide us relief,” Adam said.

He added that the IMF was expected to visit Ghana for a second review of its Extended Credit Facility-backed programme for 10 days from April 2.

The cocoa, gold and oil-producing country defaulted on most of its $30 billion external debt in December 2022, after debt costs and inflation spiralled sharply higher.

The central bank said on Monday that the inflation outlook had worsened slightly over the past two months and required close monitoring.

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By MAXWELL AKALAARE ADOMBILA and CHRISTIAN AKORLIE

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