“The total public debt has increased from GHS122 billion, which is 69% of GDP to GHS291.6 billion, which is 76.1% of GDP, as of the end of December 2020,” says the Caretaker Finance Minister, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu
The Majority leader who was standing in for Finance Minister-designate, Ken Ofori Atta, presenting the 2021 budget statement in Parliament blamed the increase in the debt stock on “non-recurrent burdens.
According to him, “the debt stock and the debt to GDP ratio are the following non-recurrent burdens that we had to deal with as a matter of urgency; the physical impact of COVID-19, which is GHS19.7 billion, the cost of the financial sector clean-up, which is GHS21 billion, and the cost of excess capacity charges paid to IPPs, which is also GHS12 billion.”
“If these expenditures are excluded and the drop in GDP growth in 2020, primarily attributable to COVID-19, is taken into account, the total stock of debt for 2020 would have been approximately GHS239.9 billion, implying a dent to GDP ratio of 58.7%,” he added.
Debt growth slower under Akufo-Addo government
Osei Kyei Mensa Bonsu indicated that due to the prudent management of the economy by President Akufo-Addo, the debt growth has been slower.
“Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of growth of the public debt has been lower under our government than under previous governments. The rate of debt growth was also slower under our government despite investment in our flagship programmes such as Free SHS; Planting for Food and Jobs; NABCo; One District, One Factory; One Village, One Dam; One Constituency, One Ambulance, and the restoration of the allowances for trainee teachers and nurses, among other things, while maintaining macro-economic and exchange rate stability.”
This, according to him, “reinforces the fact that the Akufo-Addo government and indeed the NPP are simply better managers of the economy and better protectors of the public purse”.
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