Ghana’s debt stock more than GH¢291.6 billion - Adongo disputes govt's figures

ADONGO 3 Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Isaac Adongo

Tue, 23 Mar 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

A member of the Minority in Parliament has reiterated the caucus’s position that the 2021 financial budget presented to the house by the government was not forthright on how much debt the nation has accumulated.

According to the deputy Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Isaac Adongo, the figure of GH¢291.6 billion debt quoted by the government in the budget did not reflect the reality. According to him, the ‘true debt stock’ stood in excess of GH¢299 billion.

In his view, the Bank of Ghana and Ministry of Finance defined the country’s debt stock in a narrow manner which did not reflect the true situation because it excluded several components such as the IMF facility that government took to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“The Bank of Ghana has a narrow view of our public debt… It is only the debt that goes through the Bank of Ghana that the Bank of Ghana is aware of. Public debt such as the one sitting at the GETFund, the over $1.5 billion, the Bank of Ghana does not know about it…

“So how come the Ministry of Finance always agrees with the narrow view [of the Bank of Ghana]… Conspicuously missing [from the budget] are the financial commitments that we borrowed under COVID,” he stated on Citi News’ Point of View program which was monitored by GhanaWeb.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, whiles delivering the 2021 budget statement on Friday, March 12, 2021, disclosed that Ghana’s debt stood at GH¢291.6 billion.

“The total public debt has increased from GH¢122 billion, which is 69% of GDP to GH¢291.6 billion, which is 76.1% of GDP, as of the end of December 2020.

“Included in the debt stock and the debt to GDP ratio are the following non-recurrent burdens that we had to deal with as a matter of urgency; the physical impact of COVID-19, which is GH¢19.7 billion, the cost of the financial sector clean-up, which is GH¢21 billion, and the cost of excess capacity charges paid to IPPs, which is also GH¢12 billion,” the minister said.

In a similar assertion in 2020, Mr Adongo stated that Akufo-Addo government was adding an average of about GH¢3 billion in debt each month to the nation’s debt stock.

“The NDC was adding an average of GH¢1.15 billion to our public debt every month and a total of GH¢13 billion a year but President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is adding GH¢3 billion every month and GH¢36 billion a year and quite clearly, the numbers are showing a very scary picture,” he stated at a public forum organized by the Coalition for Restoration (CFR) to assess the Akufo-Addo government’s performance after three years.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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