Ghana’s finance minister responds to claims that the country has accumulated debts it cannot repay

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta has debunked claims that the country is in debt distress.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

This follows an interview he granted on Thursday, April 4, 2019.

According to the Finance Minister, Ghanaians should ignore claims that the country is accumulating so much debt that it may not be able to repay.

Recently, the Economic Commission for Africa listed Ghana as the 8th country in Africa with debt distress. It said the country’s debt levels have raised concerns about the ability to withstand the impact of the move on their economies.

As at the end of 2018, Ghana’s debt is stood at $33.4 billion (173.2 billion cedis).

However, Mr Ofori Atta tracing the downward trend in debt to revenue ratio, discounted the claims that the country is threading cautious paths.

He said, “We have moved from about 47.4 % maybe in 2016 to where it is that is 40.9 per cent in 2018, and we expect it to go down in 2022 to about 30 per cent.”

The government had justified the domestic and foreign bonds issued since it assumed office. It maintains that the exercise is necessary to retire maturing debts and provide infrastructural projects.

Mr Ofori Atta further said Ghana’s exit from the IMF program should not see the country witness a rise in the budget deficit.

He explains that this will be achieved through guarding expenditure particularly the public sector wage bill.

“We’ve put in a lot of irreversibility buffers in place such as the Fiscal Advisory and Responsibility Councils and then also we now have discussions with employers’ union which will enable us to monitor ourselves and set targets and make sure that the IMF is replaced by our own stakeholders to be on course.”

Finance Minister then admitted that the impact of the government’s economic policies on the lives of Ghanaians may not be in the interim however, the overall effect will require a longer period of time.

“Inflation, as well as interest rates all, have to come down; we need to find means of bringing capital to entrepreneurs so that we can generate the type of employment and decent work that we are talking about,” he concluded.

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