Gov’t Silent On Public Debt


Seth Terkper



Government has failed to give an update on the total debt stock of the country.

During the latest meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank in January, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) told journalists that the Ministry of Finance will declare the exact debt stock.

But at a press briefing yesterday in Accra on the state of the economy, the Ministry could not provide the figures.

It rather said that it had instituted new debt management strategies including on-lending, escrow, sinking fund, refinancing etc.

The Ministry noted that the public debt to GDP ratio tapered in 2015, adding that the public debt, including Eurobond for refinancing, stood at 72.6 percent in November 2015 while public debt, excluding Eurobond and maintaining domestic stock or public debt after refinancing exercise, stood at 70 percent of GDP.

As at September 2015, the total public debt stood at GH¢92.2 billion.

Meanwhile, the total public debt figure is feared to have crossed GH¢111 billion between September 2015 and now according to calculations made from the sale of GOG securities on a weekly basis.

Government has announced that for the first half of this year, it plans to borrow about GH¢30.6 billion.

Growth in public debt


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Even though government, through the Central Bank, has been borrowing huge sums of money every week from both domestic and foreign investors, it maintained that the growth in public debt, which stood at 50 percent in 2014, reduced to 2 percent at end of 2015.

Growth pinned on oil production

The ministry said Ghana’s growth was expected to improve significantly in the medium term, as the country remained on track to double its hydrocarbons production in the next two years.

“The TEN and Sankofa-Gye Nyame Fields will begin commercial production of oil and gas in the next two years. With the relative stability in power supply, we expect a gradual pick-up in manufacturing and other economic activities in 2016.”

Ghana is expected to grow from 4.1 percent to 5.2 percent.

Budget review

The Ministry indicated that it intends to review the 2016 Budget to accommodate further shocks to the budget.

By Samuel Boadi

 


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