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Gov't to suspend 60 major projects and 3 million jobs to be lost — Agbodza

As part of measures to execute the domestic debt exchange programme, the Minority Chief Whip, Governs Kwame Agbodza, has alleged that the government will suspend sixty ongoing projects across the country.

Nana Addo and Mahamudu Bawumia

According to him, the suspension of the projects would lead to about 3 million job losses hence the need for the government to be transparent about the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal.

Addressing the press in parliament, he disclosed that "as we sit here, a series of meetings have taken place with a close group of people in the NPP where about sixty projects and programmes are going to either be suspended or canceled. These projects include the Obetsebi Lamptey road extension, the La and Shama General Hospital projects, the Tema Motorway Road project, and the Adomi Bridge project."

He alleged that the government had made some payments to some of the contractors without the necessary green light to kickstart these projects.

"You will be surprised this government paid some of the developers 15 percent to 20 percent mobilization fees and the contractors are sitting in their offices drinking tea because the government is unable to tell them whether to go ahead because the Finance Minister basically asked them to suspend all those projects and we are currently losing value because the contractors have taken the money and no work is currently going on," he said.

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He added: "What are the underlying principles of the selection of the projects the NPP wants to cancel, suspend or go ahead with? We all have to have an understanding of this because the lack of understanding creates anxiety.

"There are financiers, developers, sub-developers, contractors, suppliers, and ordinary workers with these entities who will lose their jobs permanently and I project that this may lead to three million job losses."

Domestic debt exchange programme

In December 2022, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta launched the debt exchange programme as part of efforts to access the $3 billion bailout from the IMF.

This final lap has, however, been fraught with challenges as various interest groups including labour and individual bondholders have lamented the possibility of the development leaving them in a sorry state.

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So far the government has extended the deadline for eligible bondholders two times. But individual bondholders are asking for their bonds to be excluded from the restructuring.

IMF deal to be concluded in March

Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said Ghana will secure the financial bailout it is seeking from the IMF by March 2023.

He said everything that is required for Ghana to do or submit to reach an agreement with the fund has been done, and optimistic the processes have been finalized.

He stressed that there was a vital need for other creditors to support the efforts that his government was undertaking to restructure both the external and domestic debts of the country, to enable the IMF deal to fall through quickly.

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