Former Finance Minister Seth Terkper has accused Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia of constantly distorting facts when he was campaigning in 2016 as the running mate to then opposition leader Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Mr. Terkper said Dr. Bawumia constantly misrepresented facts and data on the debt situation in the previous Mahama administration just for political gains.
This, he said, has come back to bite the Akufo-Addo-led government.
Mr. Tekper was commenting on the raging debate over the debt situation in Ghana and whether or not Ghana has been declared a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC).
“Why hit at HE Mahama? We note distortions cited from 2015 a lot. Can we hold the government to its own criteria set in 2015 by HE VP Bawumia, even without holding values constant, as far back as 2008?” Mr. Terkper said in a tweet.
A report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that Ghana’s debt to GDP ratio, which currently stands at 68.3 percent, will hit 76.7 percent by the end of December this year.
But Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has described the projections as merely statistical.
He told TV3’s Etornam Sey in an exclusive interview on Monday, October 26 that the government of Ghana was not too concerned about the debt because attention was focused on spending the funds to protect Ghanaians against the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The lives of the people, he said, matter to the government than debt.
Similarly, he added, the government spent huge sums of money during the clean-up exercise in the banking sector which resulted in the collapse of nine domestic banks.
“The IMF is expecting developed countries to have a 125 percent debt to GDP ratio. Countries like ours are doing about 65 percent.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the IMF has dismissed reports that Ghana has been declared a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC).
A statement from the IMF’s Resident Representative to Ghana, Dr. Albert Touna-Mama, said on Tuesday, October 27 that: “The HIPC Initiative is essentially closed for countries that have already reached the Completion Point. As you may recall, Ghana successfully reached the Completion Point in July 2004.”
He further explained in the statement that the list of countries that have qualified for the HIPC Initiative since its inception in 1996 is regularly updated “and must not be interpreted as a new HIPC list”.
“Any such interpretation is flawed and may be deceptive,” Dr. Touna-Mama added in the statement.
This came after the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, dismissed claims originally made by former president John Dramani Mahama.
Speaking at the Nation Building Updates on Tuesday, October 27 in Accra, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah noted that there is a deliberate attempt to discredit the work of government especially as the country approaches major elections on December 7.
“There are suggestions being spread particularly on social media that Ghana has been declared HIPC again and I am sure you would have noticed that a lot of persons are sharing materials on social media that the IMF or World Bank has declared Ghana HIPC or listed Ghana as one of the HIPC countries and it is a suggestion that the economy is not as good a shape that we claim it is.
“For the avoidance of doubt and because we have also mentioned that we are aware that some persons in the weeks ahead of the elections will seek to spread a lot of false information and fake news, it is important to quickly respond to it right here and right now.
“Categorically, we say to you it is not true that Ghana has been declared HIPC or has been added to the list of HIPC countries,” he added.