By Maxwell Obiri-Yeboah
The Minister for Information, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has described the National Democratic Congress (NDC) claim that the Akufo-Addo-led administration is on a borrowing spree as fallacious and without basis.
The call by the Minority, saying the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has borrowed GHS 80billion within two years since being in office does not hold water and is a mere plot to mislead Ghanaians, the Minister stated.
Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah said the NDC parliamentarians are not being truthful to Ghanaians with their claims, in the sense that, the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama administration approved many of these loans, which are now maturing and being disbursed under the NPP government, but they have rather turned round and are blaming the NPP for what they did while in office.
The NDC minority in parliament, led Mr. Fifi Kwetey, Member of Parliament for Ketu South, Mr. Cassiel Atto Forson, Member for Ajumako/Anyan/Essiam and others called a news conference last week Thursday and alleged that Ghana’s current total debt stands at GHS 200billion, equivalent to 58 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to the Minority, whilst the debt stock during their reign stood at GHS 120billion, representing 56 percent of GDP, the NPP government has within two years, increased the debt by GHS80 billion and yet has nothing to show for it.
Addressing a news conference in Accra last week Friday to react to the NDC claim, Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah said they (NDC) fed Ghanaians with falsehood.
“It is also amazing to hear people who understand national accounting to suggest that a change in the nominal debt stock means President Akufo-Addo has taken new loans of GHS 80billion.
As always, the very persons making the claim know the first addition to our debt stock is the current disbursement of loans contracted under their tenure.
“The ongoing disbursements of loans for the Eastern University and Tema Mpakadan railway, just to mention a few, all contribute to the GHS 80billion change in our nominal debt stock. How can anybody know this and make a claim that Akufo-Addo’s government has added GHS 80billion to our debt stock,” Mr. Oppong-Nkrumah quizzed.
The Information minister added: “Government has not borrowed GHS 80billion within two and a half years. Ghana’s domestic market can never even release that kind of money in two and half years. Our market is not as liquid as that”.
Expressing surprise about why the NDC has shifted from its previous position of rejecting calls for an account of borrowings, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the outrageous claims by the minority were part of the opposition party’s regular attempt to “scare Ghanaians with falsehoods.”
Mr. Nkrumah explained that the administration was capped at not exceeding US$ 500m in new project loans in 2017 and 2018, under the IMF program and has abided by that.
In 2019, the administration is further capped at not exceeding US$ 750m in new project loans and again intends to abide by it.
While advising Ghanaians to dismiss the NDCs usual ‘scare propaganda’ on the economy, Mr. Nkrumah argues that the evidence of the improved debt situation lies in the fact that, even including the financial sector bailout, the debt-GDP ratio which measures debt sustainability remains at 56%, thus negating the NDC’s claims of ballooning debt. He cautioned the Minority once again to desist from putting out false claims about the Ghanaian economy.