Christopher Arko, GNA
Accra, June 19 GNA –
Parliament has approved the Annual Public Debt Report for the 2018 Financial
Year after a heated debate between the Majority and Minority members on the
floor of the House on the figures presented.
The Minority caucus
criticized the government for bloating the nation’s debt stock from GH¢122
billion to GH¢173 billion, whilst the Majority side applauded the government’s
economic management team for sound economic management.
Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, Chairman of the
Finance Committee, presenting the Committee’s report, informed members that the
objective of government’s debt management was to ensure that government’s
financing needs were met on timely basis at the lowest cost consistent with a
prudent degree of risk.
He said government’s
Medium Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS) was to bring the public debt level
to below 65 percent of GDP over the medium term.
For the year 2018,
the MTDS was to finance the budget deficit using domestic securities
(preferably long-term bonds) and external financing, including the
International capital Market (ICM).
also stated that the aim of the report was to outline and disseminate
information on government borrowings and other debt management operations,
guarantee and lending activities of government and other financial arrangements
entered into by government for the year 2018.
He said the report
was meant to publicize information on Ghana’s public debt portfolio and debt
management activities carried out over the past year to stakeholders, including
lenders and investors in government securities as well as the general public.
announced that in 2018 Ghana successfully issued a US$2 billion Eurobond in May
2018, which was the sixth time the country had participated in the
International Capital Market.
He said the 2018
Eurobond consisted of US$1 billion 10-year bond and landmark 30-year bond of
the same amount priced at 7.625 percent and 8.625 percent respectively, and
that relatively lower interest rates were achieved notwithstanding the global
capital market turbulence triggered by increasing US interest rates, currency
crisis in some emerging and developing economies.
Mr Cassiel Ato
Forson, Ranking Member on Finance, expressed concern about Ghana’s growing
public debt, and expressed worry on the inability Ghana to service its debts,
adding that, recent World and IMF research showed the country’s debts
sustainability would be a problem.
external debts are also increasing but unfortunately the nation is not
mobilizing enough to service it”, he added.
Mr Kojo Oppong
Nkrumah, Minister of Information in his comments on the report stated that the
rate of debt accumulation has slowed down to 14.5 percent in 2018 compared to
22 percent in 2016 under the erstwhile NDC administration.
He disputed the
claim made by Mr Forson that Ghana’s debts stock has reached an epidemic level,
and said the figures from the report did not support that.
Mr Nkrumah said Ghana’s debts position was
healthier, and the nation would continue with the current debt management
Mr Isaac Adongo, MP
for Bolgatanga Central Constituency criticized government for increasing the
Ghana’s public debt to unsustainable “catastrophic levels,” and accused the
Government of trying to “massage the country’s public debt figures to look good
in order to deceive people”.
He said the debt-
GDP-ratio in 2016, which is 55.6 per cent, was far better than the 2018 debt-
GDP-ratio, which stood at 57.9 percent.
Mr Alexander Afenyo
Markin, MP for Efutu Constituency in commenting on the report chastised the
erstwhile NDC administration for their reckless spending, which he said led
them to the IMF for policy credibility.
He argued that
despite the government’s expenditure in the Implementation of the Free SHS
Policy and other social intervention policies, it had still been able to bring
down deficit to 3.9 percent.
He said though the
debt stock of Ghana was growing under the NPP administration but at slower
pace, which was more favourable than before.
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