Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has rejected claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has in the past two years borrowed ¢80 billion with no development projects to show for it.
The Minority, at a press conference, had sought to create the impression that the NPP government had borrowed funds in excess of ¢80 billion since the party assumed office in January 2017.
It dared the government to point to the various projects that the borrowed funds had been used for, suggesting that the funds have been used for ‘consumption’, placing Ghana in a debt distressed position.
But contrary to their claims, evidence from the Central Bank and Ministry of Finance, provided by the Information Minister, has exposed the seeming untruth in the claims by the opposition.
Rebutting the claims on Citi TV’s Point of View, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah challenged the figures put out by the Minority arguing that members of the opposition NDC were only ‘confusing themselves’ with Ghana’s ‘debt stock’ and Ghana’s ‘borrowed funds’.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah explained that the nominal debt stock in cedi terms refers to the cedi equivalent of Ghana’s external and domestic debts at a point in time. This figure, he further explained, was affected by about five different items, only one of which was new borrowing by the Akufo-Addo administration.
The Information Minister noted that the ¢80 billion that the Minority claims the Akufo-Addo government had borrowed, represents the change in the cedi equivalent of the nominal debt.
“We can say that the debt stock has changed by $76 billion. But what we are saying is that you cannot go out and make a claim or suggestion that the change of $76 billion in the debt stock means the Akufo-Addo government has borrowed $76 billion dollars,” the Minister explained.
He further explained that the $76 billion was not an amount of money which has been borrowed by the NPP government. He noted that it was rather the amount of money that had been added to the debt stock since the NPP assumed office.
He explained that a number of factors, including the disbursement of loans contracted in the previous administration, exchange rate differentials, and transactionary effect account for this $76 billion.
“What we are saying is that apart from old loans that are being disbursed, there are some of the new additions to the debt stock that are not monies that come to the administration to be used for projects, and we have given examples. Take the extended Credit Facility (IMF bailout) that my brother, Ato Forson, and my very good friend, Seth Terkper, literally led us into under IMF. We are to receive about $1 billion in support that goes to the Bank of Ghana. This money doesn’t come to the central treasury for the Central Bank or for the central government to use for any developmental project. If you take that nearly $1 billion, it is about GH¢5 billion in contemporary terms, because it is part of our external debt, and I used the current exchange rate.”
He continued: “About [the] $5 billion in Ato Forson’s $80 billion change in debt stock, he (Ato Forson) knows it is not money that comes to the central treasury to use for any project, yet they want to create the impression that it is money that President Akufo-Addo has borrowed and must be able to show for it.”
Providing a list of old loans contracted before President Akufo-Addo assumed office, which are now being disbursed, Mr Nkrumah further challenged the Minority that the claim that Akufo-Addo had caused an ¢80 billion change could, therefore, not be sustained