The Minority in Parliament is projecting an addition of GHc16 billion to Ghana’s public debt stock.
The public debt stock as at August 2018, stood at GHc159.4 billion up from GH¢122 billion some two years ago.
According to the Minority, government’s appetite for borrowing has been compounded by the need for them to raise capital not for infrastructure, but consumption.The comments come as the Finance Minister prepares to deliver the 2019 budget on Thursday, November 15, 2015.
Speaking at a pre-budget round table discussion on Tuesday, Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, said the Akufo-Addo Administration has failed to live up to its promise not to engage in reckless borrowing.
“In the year 2019, they [NPP government] will add about 16 billion to our debt. This will take our total public debt to about 186 billion by close of year 2019. The Akufo-Addo government appears to have pumped a large chunk of its money into consumption as there is virtually no capital investment to show for his level of borrowing,” he said.
Ato Forson insisted that “the foregoing shows clearly that the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Vice President misled Ghanaians with their claims on borrowing while in opposition, instead they have resorted to the very thing they condemned just two years ago. Where is the president’s ability to develop Ghana without taxation and borrowing which he touted so much in opposition?”?
Ato Forson, who is also the Member of Parliament for the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam Constituency in the Central Region, said information available to them, shows that some policies in the yet-to-be presented 2019 budget, will turn President Akufo-Addo’s ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ mantra, to a “Ghana beyond hell.”
“We say Ghana beyond hell because in the year 2017, the budget was named ‘asempa’ budget, meaning good news. But at the end, what did we see? We saw ‘asembone’ budget meaning bad news. In the year 2018, the budget was named ‘adwuma’ budget, meaning we were going to expect more employment, but what are we witnessing now? We are witnessing job losses, layoffs and no jobs. President Akufo-Addo announced that the 2019 budget will be full of hope. But judging from the outcome of the 2017 and 2018 budget and economic policy statement, what should we expect in the 2019 budget? Hopelessness,” he added.
Analysts have expressed concerns over the growing debt stock.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had earlier admonished Ghana to put stringent measures in its 2019 budget to check revenue shortfall.
‘We won’t stop borrowing, even US borrows’ – Akufo-Addo
Ghanaians who believed the Akufo-Addo government will reduce the public debt by not borrowing money in the same way his predecessors did, may have their hopes dashed.
This is because President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said his government will keep borrowing money to put up projects he described as “assets” to pay back those loans.
He said every country borrows money for projects and Ghana is not an exception.
“We will borrow money; everybody borrows money. The United States of America is one of the biggest debtors in the world. So borrowing money is not necessarily a betrayal of the concept of independence. The key for us in borrowing money is that we borrow money to create assets that will allow us to pay the money back. That is the key…If we borrow the money and use it properly it is an asset for us in expanding our economy and infrastructure,” he added.
By: Godwin A. Allotey & Duke M. Opoku | citinewsroom.com | Ghana
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