Business News of Tuesday, 21 February 2017
The government of Ghana under former president John Mahama missed all the targets set for it by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the $918million three-year extended credit facility deal, President Nana Akufo-Addo has said.
“In fact, virtually all the targets under the IMF programme, as of December 2016, have been missed,” Nana Akufo-Addo told parliament on Tuesday, 21 February in his first State of the Nation address.
“The IMF programme negotiated was ostensibly to restore fiscal discipline, debt sustainability, and increase economic growth. It should be recalled that at the time Ghana entered into the IMF programme to restore fiscal discipline, the fiscal deficit was 10.2% of GDP. It is very clear, therefore, that the Mahama government did not achieve the objectives set out in the programme,” the president said.
According to him, the reality of the state of Ghana’s public finances today is “quite stark”.
“Ghana’s debt stock now stands at 74% of GDP, after all the previous denials to the contrary,” Nana Akufo-Addo said, adding: “As of the beginning of 2009, Ghana’s total debt stock was GHS9.5 billion. By the end of 2016, the debt had ballooned to GHS122 billion.”
He said the interest costs on this debt had also increased and would amount to an estimated GHS14.1 billion in 2017.
“In fact, 92% of Ghana’s total debt stock was incurred in the last eight years under the previous government,” he said.
Nana Akufo-Addo said total projected expenditure for 2016 was GHS43.9 billion (26% of GDP) but actual expenditure amounted to GHS50.3 billion (30.2% of GDP).
“It appears, from what we are finding out, that some GHS7billion of arrears and outstanding payments circumvented the public financial management system,” while “the total revenue target for our country was GHS37.9 billion (22.7% of GDP) but the actual revenue came in at GHS33.2 billion (19.9% of GDP)”.
He said the combination of higher expenditures and lower revenues than projected resulted in a significant increase in the budget deficit for 2016. “Fiscal indiscipline, once again, reared its head in the 2016 election year,” the president disclosed.