You can’t place restrictions on import – IMF to Ghana Government

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has made it clear to the Government of Ghana that it cannot impose or intensify import restrictions for balance of payments purposes


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.
The Fund emphasized on page 76 of the program paper that “no imposition or intensification of import restrictions for balance of payments reasons” would be allowed. The Ghanaian government is restricted from making four decisions while it is still part of the IMF program, among other things. These choices are in line with the performance standards that apply to all Fund arrangements, which consist of:

  • 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 limitations on the importation of 22 products on the list. It has made three unsuccessful attempts to present the bill to the house.

The Minority in Parliament encouraged President Akufo-Addo to revoke the legislation aimed at limiting the importation of fish, rice, cement, sugar, animal stomachs (known as “yemuadie”), guts, and bladders as soon as possible.

The Trade Minister, K.T Hammond, who was pushing this regulation hoped it will help the cedi appreciate as well as help grow local industries.

As per the proposed legislation, authorization from the Trade Minister would have been necessary for anyone wishing to import the chosen products.

According to Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s import cost is over $10 billion a year and is made up of a wide variety of goods like toothpicks, toilet rolls, and palm oil. The commerce minister claims that although Ghana requires over $500 million to import rice, the importation of “yemuadie” really cost the state about $164 million.

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