Minority criticises government over Ghana’s rising debt

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The Minority Caucus in Parliament has criticised the Akufo-Addo-led administration for its unprecedented level of borrowing, which, they claimed, has bloated the national debt stock.

According to them, the latest report of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Ghana places the current national debt at almost GH¢200 billion as at the end of the first quarter of 2019.
Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, Ranking Member on Finance, speaking at a press conference, stated that despite this insatiable appetite for borrowing, President Akufo-Addo’s government does not have any significant capital investments to show, unlike his predecessor, former President John Mahama, who invested borrowed funds in major capital projects across all sectors of the economy, from education, health, housing, roads, energy, communications, aviation and transport, among others.
Mr Forson also said the GH¢200 billion national debt represents an increase of about GH¢80 billion in the last two-and-half years alone, raising the debt to GDP ratio from 56 per cent in 2016 to almost 58 per cent.
“We drew attention to the change since 2016 for three reasons related to the Mahama era. First, there was the promise not to borrow. Second, the NPP has benefited from a 25 per cent bonus or increase in GDP, due to the rebasing exercise. Third, the NPP inherited two additional oil fields (Sankofa and TEN) that has almost tripled output and at an average 60 per cent price increase,” he added.
According to Mr Forson, at the current exchange rate levels, borrowing alone has given President Akufo-Addo government a staggering $16 billion over the period, which excludes the GH¢5.7 billion borrowed under the ESLA Bonds last year.
Mr Forson also noted that the current NPP administration has benefited more in terms of oil revenues received than any other government.
He said the total oil revenues received between 2017 and 2018 and those expected to be received in 2019 currently stands at GH¢12,328,703,024.81.
He said President Akufo-Addo’s government has had more money at their disposal than any other government and should have done far more than it is doing presently. 
Mr Forson further stated that the current spate of borrowing threatens to erode the fiscal space provided by the rebasing of the economy started in 2016 and which was concluded in September 2018.
According to him, it is obvious that the President views rebasing as an opportunity to engage in unbridled borrowing aimed at consumption-related expenditure.
He said President Akufo-Addo, in spite of all the resources available to him, has not been able to fulfill most his campaign promises to the people.

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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An Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A Senior Journalist with Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. He is a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow who studied at Clark Atlanta University in USA on the Business and Entrepreneurship track. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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