Minority Spokesperson on Finance Committee, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson

Minority Ranking Member on Parliament Finance Committee says the Akufo-Addo government is responsible for 60% of the country’s current public debt if data gathered up to the end of 2020 were to be used.

Speaking at the first series of Policy Dialogues to be organised by the Minority at the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA), Dr Cassiel Ato Forson said out of Ghana’s Public debt of ¢291 billion as of December 2020, President Akufo-Addo’s tenure accounts for ¢171.22 billion representing 60%.

The Ajumako Enyan Essiam MP said the completion point of the HIPC initiative brought total debt relief of ¢5.5 billion, which reduced President Kufuor‘s end period contributed to the public debt to a little over ¢800. At the same time, President’s Atta Mills and Mahama added ¢26.2 billion and ¢84 billion, respectively.

He explained that the current debt position placed the country on an unsustainable trajectory requiring urgent measures to address.

Dr Forson cautioned that unless far-reaching measures were introduced to stem the current tide, Ghana could default on its debt service obligations and fall deeper into economic crisis.
 
The ranking member explained that government’s reckless borrowing is to blame for the economic failures that have led to an unprecedented 15.2% deficit and an asphyxiating debt overhang.

According to Dr Forson, desperate efforts by the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia administration to fault Covid-19 for its self-inflicted mismanagement are simply excuses to escape responsibility for its failures.

“A careful analysis of key debt sustainability indicators provides ample evidence that before Covid-19 (i.e. before March 2020), Ghana’s public debt was on an unsustainable trajectory,” he said.

He said the hardships Ghanaians face are the direct consequences of mismanagement of the economy and populism of the administration by the Government.

Using extensive government-issued data to back his assertion at a press confab Monday, the Minority said beyond more than doubling the inherited debt from independence from ¢120 billion to over ¢291 billion in its first term; the Akufo-Addo administration worsened Ghana’s debt to GDP ratio by hiking it from 56% in 2016 to 76.8% by the end of the year 2020.

This was against the fact that the NPP in opposition faulted the NDC for operating at 56%, which was below the recommended threshold of 70%.

The Akufo-Addo administration also worsened Ghana’s ability to repay its debt, the Minority noted.

“At the end of 2020, Ghana’s total public debt was more than five times its Domestic revenue”, Dr Forson noted.