Finance Minister outlines steps to reduce Ghana’s suffocating debt burden

The Minister of Finance has painted a rather gloomy picture of the country’s indebtedness which has resulted in a suffocating interest payment.

According to Ken Ofori Atta, interest payment alone for monies borrowed is 42% of the country’s total revenue generated.

Presenting his first budget statement under the Nana Akufo-Addo led administration, the Finance Minister said a total of 10.8 billion cedis is paid annually as interest on loans which is five times more that the monies allocated to six ministries every year.

The Minister said the six ministries including, Youth and Sports, roads, water resources works and housing, only receive 2.2 billion cedis as their total budget sum, an amount which limits any massive investment in any of those sector.

In his all white apparel, calm in demeanour and unusually faster in his reading of the budget, the Finance Minister had to endure a stormy opening remarks which was greeted with boos from the minority side of the house.

Sooner he delved into the details of the economy and the House was quiet with members listening with rapt attention.

Ken Ofori Atta said the country accumulated a total debt of 122.3 billion cedis in 2016, an amount which is largely unsustainable.

He said the Nana Akufo-Addo government does not intend to carry on with the culture of borrowing which will only lead to a shared poverty.

The Minister said the government inherited a “challenged economy” pregnant with accumulated arrears, inflated cost of projects, lack of fiscal space and weak commitment to control, slowdown in economic growth, limited capital investment.

He said there is the urgent need to collaborate with the work force and change the story of Ghana’s sinking economy.

Christening the budget as  “Ghana beyond aid” the Finance Minister said the government will introduce policies, strategies and actions that will “establish a righteous and just society.”

He said the government “will sow seeds that will bear sufficient fruits by unleashing the creative abilities of Ghanaians.”

On how to solve Ghana’s debt crisis the minister said Ghana’s debt will be managed the lowest cost.

The ministry shall conduct and publish a debt sustainable analysis, the report of which will lead to a policy decisions in the country, he noted.