By Agnes Ansah
The Minority in Parliament has said that the reckless borrowing by the incumbent government has added GH¢80 billion to the public debt in just two years.
This has raised the total public debt to GH¢200 billion, and as well as the debt to GDP ratio, which was 56% in 2016, to almost 58%, it indicated at a presser.
In the company of Mr Fifi Kwetey, former Transport Minister in the erstwhile Mahama administration, and other big shots from the party, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, former Deputy Finance Minister and a member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, said that a report by Bloomberg last week shows that the current public debt is the highest in four years, and makes Ghana one of the countries with the greatest debt distress risk in the world.
He noted that the consistent borrowing by the Akufo-Addo administration marks a betrayal of the trust reposed in the President, after he and his Vice-Presidential candidate promised in opposition not to borrow because the country had all the resources needed to finance our development.
Not only has the President’s insatiable appetite for borrowing exposed that promise as being hollow, it also shows that he and his team do not possess the competence they claimed to have to generate domestic revenue to finance the national budget, he stated.
Mr Forson pointed to the fact that the government should not have been borrowing at all, because it has had more money at its disposal than all other governments, and should have done far more than it is doing currently.
Analysing the amount of money available to the government, the former deputy Minister said that all the three budget statements presented since 2017, show that tax revenue alone has brought in about GH¢113.4 billion in the last two and half years.
In addition to this, GH¢3,779,523,324.42 has been received in the form of grants since 2017, and GH¢12,328,703.024.81 received as total oil revenue from 2017, 2018 and 2019 hopefully.
“Put together, President Akufo-Addo has had over GH¢200 billion, and yet, is unable to point to anything of significance since coming to power.”
Mr Forson said that what is even more worrying is despite this unprecedented level of borrowing, President Akufo-Addo does not have any significant capital investments to show.
Unlike his predecessor, President Mahama, who invested borrowed funds in major capital investments across all sectors of the economy, from education, health, housing, roads, railways, energy, communications, aviation, to transport among others, this administration had nothing tangible to show.
He said that almost all the major projects that are currently ongoing are those for which funding was secured under former President Mahama, or had begun under him.
He also added that not only is the President unable to show any significant capital investment, but, in spite of all the resources available, Mr Akufo-Addo and his administration have been unable to fulfil most of his campaign promises and resorted to sophistry and deceit to explain away this failure.
He said the a total of $825 million, or GH¢4.1 billion, was expected to have been disbursed to all 275 constituencies by close of this year for the “One Million Dollars Per Constituency” promise, but that amount has not been forthcoming, and, from all indications, it will remain yet another broken promise.
“Even for the flagship Free Senior High School programme, we see appalling conditions and gigantic efforts to beat a retreat from the ‘track’ regime,” he said.
This abject failure cannot be accepted in the wake of the over GH¢200 billion President Akufo-Addo has had, and we demand that the President and his government render a detailed account of how all the funds received have been disbursed.