MPs ‘Fight’ Over Public Debt In Parliament

There was a heated debate in Parliament yesterday on debt
accumulation by the John Mahama’s previous administration and the current
Akufo-Addo’s administration when the chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr Mark
Assibey-Yeboah, presented the annual public debt report for the 2018 financial
year for adoption.

The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament led
by the ranking member on the Finance Committee, Ato Forson, said considering the
rate at which the present government is borrowing from the international market,
servicing of the debt would have serious repercussions on the economy.

According to him, revenue and exports are declining under NPP government
so it would be difficult to service Ghana’s rising debt.

The ranking member said in 2018 alone the NPP borrowed GH¢25
billion.

He said in two and half years of the Akufo-Addo government, the
government has officially added GH¢80 billion to Ghana’s total debt of GH¢122
billion inherited from the NDC government but in actual fact the Akufo-Addo
government has borrowed additional GH¢40 billion within the same period which
has not been drawn down or added to the official debt stock.

The minority members said there is nothing significant to show for
all these debts by this government. 

The chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr Assibey-Yeboah, said
that under NPP government debt to GDP ratio has reduced significantly which
means that the NPP government is not doing reckless borrowing as was the case
under the NDC government.

According to the chairman of the Finance Committee, in 2018, the
NPP government took several measures to ensure efficient and effective
management of public debt in line with the debt management strategy of the
government.

He said the cleaning of the financial sector which resulted in the
consolidation of five local banks and closure of two banks added a whopping GH¢9.8
billion to the public debt under this government because the government through
Bank of Ghana issued the GH¢9.8 billion of bonds to protect depositors of these
banks.

The Minister of Information and a member of the Finance Committee of Parliament said that GH¢80 billion that the minority is claiming the government has added to the public is made up of loans borrowed by the NDC government in 2016 which had not been drawn down and so the NPP government cannot be accused of being the only government to have added the GH¢80 billion to the public debt.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr

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