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Politics of Thursday, 29 July 2021


Ken Ofori-Atta claps back at NDC over rising public debt

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta play videoFinance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

• The Finance Minister has said the country's inflation rate and interest rate are lower than it was in 2016

• He also said government did not go to the IMF for bailout programmes

Ken Ofori-Atta said the country's inflation rate and interest rate are lower than that of 2016

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has subtly jabbed the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for raising what they termed as red flags in the Akufo-Addo led government.

Among other concerns raised by the NDC were the rise in public debts and the potential burden it has on future generations.

Appearing before Parliament to present the mid-year budget review on Wednesday, July 29, 2021, the Finance Minister attributed the rising debt levels to the outbreak of coronavirus.

He furthered that despite this hindrance, workers have not been laid off and the most talked-about teacher trainee allowance and nursing trainee allowances have not been cancelled.

Also, he noted that, the country's inflation rate and interest rate are lower than that of 2016.

Ken Ofori-Atta said the exchange rate has been more stable under President Akufo-Addo's term as compared to the Mahama administration in 2016.

He stressed that these proofs are enough to show that the Akufo-Addo led government has properly managed the economy.

"Notwithstanding our elevated debt levels as a result of COVID-19, our inflation rate is lower than it was in 2016, our interest rates are lower than it were in 2016, our exchange rate is more stable than it was in 2016, our foreign exchange reserves are much higher than they were in 2016 and we did not have to lay off any workers nor cancel teacher trainee and nursing trainee allowances," he told parliament.

"Furthermore, we did not go to the IMF for bailout programmes and neither have we built an interchange for the price of 3. This is because we have managed the economy much better than it was managed up to 2016," he added.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) charged the Akufo-Addo led government to stop excessive borrowing from the Western world.

According to a member of the Finance Committee in Parliament, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, if government is not guided with their borrowing, the next generation would be burdened with public debt.

Speaking at the Policy dialogue on the economy held in Accra on Monday, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson said, the Akufo-Addo government should invest in infrastructure and other beneficial projects.

He averred that, "Everyone borrows but please when you borrow, borrow smartly. Borrow not for chop chop but pay for things that can repay for itself. Even advanced countries borrow. When they borrow, they build infrastructure. They do things that can repay itself. They don’t borrow for chop chop and it is important we make that point."

"What the NPP is seeking to do now is to actually give all of us, our kids, our generations a burden of carrying a public debt. A debt that when we are not careful, we cannot pay," he added.

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