Minority to summon Finance Minister over debt stock
The Minority in Parliament are unrelenting in their demand for an explanation to Ghana’s rising debt stock and have vowed to summon Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta for answers.
According to them, claims by Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah that government is managing the economy well is untrue.
Mr Nkrumah addressed the media last week after the Minority held a press conference where they alleged that government has in its two-year tenure borrowed some ¢80 billion.
Minority spokesperson, Ato Forson who addressed the press conference Tuesday said the country’s debt profile which used to be at ¢137 billion in 2016, has shot up to ¢200 billion.
He attributed it to the President's culture of heavy borrowings with no projects to show nor to think up ideas that would make the economy productive.
"The ¢200 billion national debt represents an increase of about ¢80 billion in the last two and half years alone by President Akufo-Addo and has raised the debt to GDP ratio from 56% in 2016 to almost 58%," Mr Forson claimed.
But government denied any such thing has been done.
In a statement, the Information Minister explained that a change in the nominal stock did not mean government has taken new loans.
“It is also amazing to hear people who understand national accounting suggesting that a change in the nominal debt stock means President Akufo-Addo has taken new loans of ¢80 billion.
“As always, the very persons making the claims know the first addition to our debt stock is the current disbursements of loans contracted under their tenure.
“The ongoing disbursements of loans for the Eastern University and the Tema Mpakadan railway, just to mention a few, all contribute to the ¢80 billion change in our nominal debt stock,” he said.
For the Minority, that explanation is not enough. At a counter press conference Tuesday, Mr Forson said the Information Minister’s claims smacks of duplicity and dishonesty.
“We have been very generous in sticking to the official numbers and not applying the outrageous principles and calculations used by the Vice President and the then NPP stalwarts when they were in opposition.”
Mr Forson, who is also MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam said the Minority will use parliamentary procedures to ensure better management of the debt.
Ghana’s debt stock is now $38.9 billion (¢198 billion) as of March 2019.
According to the Bank of Ghana’s Summary of Economic and Financial Data – May 2019, the debt stock represents 57.5% of Ghana’s GDP as of March 2019.
In January this year, the total public debt was ¢176.6 billion ($35.7 billion) and ¢180.7 billion ($35 billion) for February.
The figure for January and February represented 51.3% and 52.5% of GDP. A total of ¢21.4 billion was added to the public debt in the first three months of 2019.
The current debt is inclusive of the $3 billion Eurobond issued by government in March this year.