General News Sun, 12 Jun 2005
The Minister of Finance says Ghana?s inclusion in a G-8 debt relief package to 18 poor countries is the dividend paid to the nation for practicing democracy.The world's richest countries - the G8- agreed to write off the 40 billion dollar debt owed by 18 poor countries mainly African countries.
G8 finance ministers meeting in London ahead of July?s summit in Scotland agreed the package.
Anti-poverty campaigners have also welcomed the deal - but say they want more nations to benefit.
Speaking to JOY NEWS, Finance minister, Kwadwo Baah Wiredu says the debt relief is a direct response to the democratic practices in the country over the years.
?There is dividend in democracy. You need to respect your people and not to kill them when they demonstrate as it happened in Ethiopia and in Ghana in 1995 even under democratic rule?, he said.
The debt package effectively writes off debts owed to three out of about nine multilateral organizations Ghana deals with.
Mr. Baah Wiredu however says the cancellation represents a great part of the debt owed the international community.
?We still owe but the relief from the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank represents about 80% of the national debt?, he said.
The debt relief package would save the countries involve a combined total of 1.5 billion dollars a year in debt repayments.