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ACCRA Feb 10 Ghana urgently needs to narrow its
budget deficit, the International Monetary Fund said on Friday,
after the 2016 gap came in at 9 percent of economic output
rather than the Fund's target of 5.25 percent.
The inflation rate is also coming down more slowly than
expected, the IMF said at the end of a visit to the country that
followed a change of government. Annual inflation stood at 15.4
percent in December.
Ghana started a three-year programme with the Fund in April
2015 that aims to reduce inflation, the deficit and public debt,
stabilize the currency and boost growth.
"Ghana's economy continues to face challenges. While the
estimated economic growth of 3.6 percent in 2016 exceeded our
target of 3.3 percent, the decline in inflation has been slower
than expected," the Fund said in a statement after a visit led
by mission chief Joel Toujas-Bernate.
The country exports gold, oil and cocoa and until 2014, when
a broad-based decline in commodity prices began, boasted one of
Africa's most dynamic economies.
The new government has outlined a plan to restore fiscal
discipline, broaden the tax base, rein in spending by individual
ministries, limit allocations to statutory funds and cut tax
The Fund said Ghana's fiscal problems required strong
efforts of consolidation and the government also needed to
urgently address a problem of debt among state enterprises.
(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo and Matthew Mpoke Bigg; editing by