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CVM Founder censures Sam Jonah over borrowing comment

The Founder and President of Concern Voters Movement (CVM), Razak Kojo Opoku, has expressed concern about the way the former Chief Executive of Ashanti Goldfields, Dr Sam Jonah, criticised the Vice President, Dr Bawumia, and Ghana’s national economy.

At his recent public lecture with Rotarians, Dr Sam Jonah was quoted as saying, “One of the most alarming aspects of our macroeconomic situation is the debt crisis. As at the end of 2020, the total public debt reached GH¢291.6 billion, representing 76.1% of GDP. A nominal increase of about GH¢149.3 billion since January 2017.

“In 2018, the debt to GDP ratio was 59.1%, increased to 62.4% in 2019, and to 76.1% in 2020. New bonds have since been issued. The domestic debt component is 51.4% of total debt, while external debt is 48.6%. Of course, we all know the effect this has on access to credit by the private sector for investment.

“But the bigger question is how are all these debts going to be repaid? This question is important because if you look at our expenditure profile, the top two items are the emoluments of government employees and interest payments on existing debts. Thus, we are borrowing to consume and to service existing debts rather than for productive investment.”

But Razak Kojo Opoku is arguing that Dr Sam Jonah is a Ghanaian, who a lot of investments in South Africa. He contended in a statement released in Accra yesterday that if he (Jonah) had also chosen to invest heavily in the Ghanaian economy, it would have stimulated growth. To him, therefore, it is wrong for the business mogul to criticise the management of the economy the way he did when he has investments in South Africa.

“Obuasi and Johannesburg are mining cities. Both of them are known as ‘City of Gold. Obuasi roads, and development in general, were very poor when [the] KBE awardee was the CEO for Ashanti Goldfields Corporation. Meanwhile, Johannesburg, a similar mining community, was fast developing around that same period,” he said.

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