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General News of Thursday, 20 June 2019


MPs 'fight' public debt in Parliament

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There was a heated debate in Parliament yesterday on debt accumulation by the John Mahama’s previous administration and the current Akufo-Addo’s administration when the chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, presented the annual public debt report for the 2018 financial year for adoption.

The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament led by the ranking member on the Finance Committee, Ato Forson, said considering the rate at which the present government is borrowing from the international market, servicing of the debt would have serious repercussions on the economy.

According to him, revenue and exports are declining under NPP government so it would be difficult to service Ghana’s rising debt.

The ranking member said in 2018 alone the NPP borrowed GH¢25 billion.

He said in two and half years of the Akufo-Addo government, the government has officially added GH¢80 billion to Ghana’s total debt of GH¢122 billion inherited from the NDC government but in actual fact the Akufo-Addo government has borrowed additional GH¢40 billion within the same period which has not been drawn down or added to the official debt stock.

The minority members said there is nothing significant to show for all these debts by this government.

The chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr Assibey-Yeboah, said that under NPP government debt to GDP ratio has reduced significantly which means that the NPP government is not doing reckless borrowing as was the case under the NDC government.

According to the chairman of the Finance Committee, in 2018, the NPP government took several measures to ensure efficient and effective management of public debt in line with the debt management strategy of the government.

He said the cleaning of the financial sector which resulted in the consolidation of five local banks and closure of two banks added a whopping GH¢9.8 billion to the public debt under this government because the government through Bank of Ghana issued the GH¢9.8 billion of bonds to protect depositors of these banks.

The Minister of Information and a member of the Finance Committee of Parliament said that GH¢80 billion that the minority is claiming the government has added to the public is made up of loans borrowed by the NDC government in 2016 which had not been drawn down and so the NPP government cannot be accused of being the only government to have added the GH¢80 billion to the public debt.

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