Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng, has cited the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic to justify the oft-criticised ballooning public debt under the Nana Akufo-Addo government.
Mr Kwarteng told Citi FM that the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government needed to borrow more to offset the COVID-19 challenges, however, this was done within the global average.
“We have had to incur our debts because of COVID-19 and therefore if you look at the global average, different situations will call for different considerations.
“So we want to do below 70 but when you have COVID-19 to deal with; when you have a financial sector situation to deal with and you have legacy debt, you may have to incur some debt before you stabilise the economy,” Citi FM quoted the Deputy Minister in a report.
The government under Akufo-Addo has added up to GH¢86.6 billion to the public debt stock, a trend that has been criticised by some economists and the Bretton Woods institutions.
As of the end of September 2019, Ghana’s public debt was about GH¢208.6 billion, according to data from the Bank of Ghana.
Meanwhile, at a press conference on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) said citing COVID-19 to justify the huge borrowing under the Akufo-Addo government is misleading.
NDC Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, told pressmen at the party's headquarters that while Ghana’s Fiscal deficit has been galloping, COVID-19 accounts for only 2.5% for this trend.
Analysts have blamed the depreciation of the cedi against the major currencies as part of the reasons the country’s debt stock is ballooning.