Former Minister for Finance, Seth Terkper, has described as “unfortunate” assertions by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori, that Ghana’s rising public debt is merely statistical.
The country’s public debt currently stands at 68.3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a development the public has raised concerns about.
The concerns have further been compounded in recent times by an IMF report which projects that Ghana’s debt will hit 76.7% by the end of December this year.
This projection by the IMF is much higher than that which the government had projected its debt portfolio for the year.
But the Finance Minister says this does not matter as much as the lives of the people for whose welfare the government spent.
“When you discount what was spent on the financial service and on the energy sector, that brings it back. I guess the question for any nation at this pandemic time is, what you put forward first.
“The lives of the people who then become productive or you stick to some statistical numbers as an issue from stopping you from saving lives. I think we have chosen the latter.”, he told Media General’s Etornam Sey.
Mr Terkper does not take the Finance Minister’s assessment as the true state of affairs of the economy. He thinks otherwise. Reacting to the Finance Minister’s comments on TV3’s New Day, Mr Terkper said the rising public debt is evidence of a mismanaged economy.
According to him, it is unfortunate that the Finance Minister thinks the state of the public debt is as a result of an economic phenomenon.
Dean of the Business School at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Professor John Gatsi, had earlier reacted to the finance minister’s comments. For him, for the minister to go that route is an admission of failure on the part of the government.
“Those who create the impression that high debt is a mere statistic are admitting the failure of the debt management strategy they embraced. High debt, high-interest payments and low revenue mobilization in the era of job losses is not mere statistics”, he said.