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xxxxxxxxxxx of Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Source: rainbowradioonline.com

Ghana's economic fundamentals makes it impossible for Century Bond - Terkper

The immediate past Finance Minister of Ghana, Mr Seth Terkper, has suggested Ghana’s economic fundamentals cannot support the decision by the current administration to go in for the $50 billion 100 years bond.

Speaking in an exclusive with Kwame Tutu on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5FM, the former minister indicated that Ghana ‘’must learn to crawl before we walk.’’

Mr Terkper said, nobody is opposed to the decision by the current administration to go to the capital market and do a long-term infrastructure development but ‘’my point; when it comes to Century Bond we are not opposed to what we call extension or borrowing long-term to finance capital infrastructure because it is inefficient to use treasury bill to be financing capital. That is why interest rates are high and businesses are suffering.’’

"But you can’t also overnight issue a 20-year bond, 25-year bond, 50-year bond let alone 100-year bond. The market I am afraid will not believe you.’’

He said, you have to show and using Argentina as an example, he said, the decision by the country to issue a century bond went bad and they are currently at the IMF with austerity measures being implemented.

The fundamentals for Ghana he stressed may not be right for the issuance of such a long-term bond. The second reason he assigned to support his argument was that, Ghana’s GDP which is approximately $40 billion will make it impossible.

‘’So what you are doing with us with the issuance of the $50 billion is that, you are increasing the debt by 125 percent.’’

This he lamented would have serious or dire consequences on Ghana’s economy with a 70 percent debt ratio.

Ghana he added will be pushing its debt ratio to 200 percent especially when there is currently an argument on whether the current bauxite loan we’ve gone for would be public debt.

He explained it is inevitable for any administration not to borrow. However, the borrowing must be tactical.

Developing infrastructure he stated is very expensive and developed countries have equally borrowed to develop their infrastructure but they borrowed tactically.

In his view, the current NPP administration is engaging in ‘’fantasy borrowing’’ as against the ‘’smart borrowing’’ under the NDC administration. Ghana may soon join the likes of Argentina, Austria and Mexico to issue the rare 100-year bonds to finance national projects.

President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced this at a ceremony in Beijing to sign some eight Ghana-China co-operation agreements.

“The Ministry of Finance and the economists in Ghana are looking at floating a $50 billion Century Bond. This will provide us with the resources to finance our infrastructural and industrial development. We are hoping that, at some stage, China will interest itself, and take a part of it as China’s contribution to Ghana’s development,” he told Chinese President, Xi Jinping on Saturday.