Ghana’s public debt stock hits GH¢218.0 billion

A report from the Bank of Ghana has shown that the country’s public debt stock has hit GH¢218.0 billion in December 2019.

Ken Ofori-Atta

This is about 63% of Gross Domestic Product.

Out of this, external debt constituted GHS112.5 (US$20.3 billion). This represented 32.5% of GDP.

This was captured in the March 2020 Summary of Financial and Economic Data released by the central bank.

Also, GH¢105.5 billion was borrowed from the domestic market, representing 30.5% of GDP.

From the figures above, external debt was GH¢7 billion more than domestic debt.

In December 2016, Ghana’s debt was GH¢122 billion, representing about 62% of GDP. This was based on the old economic value of the country.

However, at the end of September 2019, Ghana’s public debt had risen to about GH¢208.6 billion, representing 60.3% of GDP due to the rebasing of the Ghanaian economy.

Comparatively, Ghana’s debt stood at GHS42 billion in 2012. In 2008, Ghana had borrowed about GH¢9 billion.

Largely, the monies borrowed are used to repay maturing debts (interest and sometimes principal) with little going into infrastructural projects. The arguments are that the borrowed funds are used for consumption purposes instead of capital projects.

The International Monetary Fund has also warned that Ghana has a high risk of becoming a debt-distressed country.

According to the Bretton Wood institution, the Debt Sustainability Analysis is mainly driven by debt service to revenue exceeding the threshold throughout the forecast horizon, though all other indicators also exceed their thresholds at some point over that horizon.

The World Bank had also cautioned Ghana against excessive borrowing.

World Bank Country Director Frank Laporte urged Ghana to be careful with increasing the country's debt stock with fresh borrowings

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