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14.06.2005 General News

Details of debt relief yet to arrive - Minister

GNA

Accra, June 14, GNA - Government said it was waiting for the "fine" details of the debt cancellation proposed by the G-8 nations, which would determine the exact amount being forgiven the country.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Finance and Economic Planning Minister said the Heads of States of the G-8 countries and the shareholders of the multilateral institutions were to meet in July and September this year to come out with full details. Mr. Baah-Wiredu said the existing debt stock of the institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) was about 4.1 billion dollars representing about 80 percent of Ghana's total debt. He said at the IMF/WB Annual Meeting in Washington for instance, the modalities for proving the debt cancellation including the cut-off date would be determined.

On the benefits and implications for the country, Mr Baah-Wiredu said the relief would assist government to channel more funds into the poverty programmes and projects. It would also help to reduce the pressure on the country's foreign currency obligation due to the reduction on external debt servicing. Economic growth would be stimulated with the adoption of appropriate economic policies designed to facilitate poverty reduction as well as make positive impact on the balance of payment. He said countries in the first line of debt forgiveness were 18 nations that have reached the Completion Point under the HIC Initiative, including four Latin American and 14 African countries.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said: "we support and accept the offer proposed, we as a nation must see it as a challenge to mobilize more resources to accelerate the pace of development. "While others continue to support, we realized that the responsibility for developing our society lies in our own hands."

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