A former Education Minister, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has described the decision by the government to issue a century bond with the Ghana Educational Trust Fund (GETFund) as mortgaging Ghana’s future.
For Spio-Garbrah, it is needless to go into the capital market to raise funds on the back of GETFund which will be paid over 100 years when the law that establishes the Fund allows for it to source funds independently from donor agencies virtually at no interest strings attached.
Mr. Spio-Garbrah, flagbearer contender of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), feels disappointed in the lack of creative thinking and thinking outside the box by managers of a Fund that was conceived and born, during his tenure as Education Minister.
According to him, the GETFund can leverage on its track record of building so many schools and other forms of infrastructure and supports provided to schools, and raise money without tying the country’s neck with a bond that will be paid by generations unborn.
“I was amazed to find out that GETFund, apparently, has not been able to raise any money other than the 2½% VAT, which shows a limited range of thinking of those who have managed GETFund and I ask myself if they have heard of organizations such as the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the McArthur Foundation and numerous other institutions all around the world including some foreign governments” he observed.
Dr Spio Garbrah who was speaking Monday at a news conference in Accra, asserted that, going for such bonds could affect the health of the economy of which the cedi’s depreciation is a factor and inflation.
He revealed that he, through Spio-Garbrah and Associates, had proposed to the government during the administration President John AGyekum Kufuor, to be given the opportunity to raise funds for GETFund at no cost. But the proposal, he said, was turned down on the grounds of their political affiliation.
“Must Ghana borrow when it can get free money,” he asked, saying he subscribes to Ghana beyond aid but not the kind of aid that doesn’t tie you down with any conditionalities.
“We must be careful of aid that puts our sovereignty at stake but not when the money is free because they don’t have any negative effects on us because they may be coming from private philanthropic organisations,” he cautioned.
He also contends that there are billions of hard currencies that are available for taking from multilateral institutions on concessionary bases rather than going for loans at market rates.