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Rate of debt accumulation and deficit lowered - Ken Ofori-Atta

By Mutala Yakubu

Ghana’s macroeconomic performance has been robust and government says it has lowered the rate of debt accumulation since 2017, following the prudent management of the economy, which has led to a successful reduction of the country’s fiscal deficit.

In a wrap-up statement at the close of debate on government policy in the 2020 budget, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta told MPs on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, in Accra that the discourse on the public debt should focus on ability of the economy to sustain the debt burden.

“From end-2016 and now, the debt-to-GDP ratio has increased from 56.8% to 57.4% (excluding the Financial Sector Bailout). This means in three years, we have only marginally increased the debt to GDP by 0.6 percentage points. It is therefore erroneous to simply focus on nominal increases in the debt stock” he told MPs.

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Mr. Ofori-Atta said contrary to suggestions from some quarters, the Akufo-Addo administration has rather lowered the rate of debt accumulation in the last three years compared to 51.6% in 2014 to 56.8% in 2016; representing an increase of 5.6 percentage points compared to 0.6 percentage points from end 2016 to date.

“This sustainable debt path is partly on the back of our successful fiscal consolidation programme which reduced the fiscal deficit by 2.6 percentage points from 2016 to 2018” he added.

On the allocation towards road infrastructure improvement, the Minister reiterated that government’s proposal to massively improve roads in 2020 by focusing on the budgeted allocation for the sector.

“We have allocated an amount of GH¢2.2bn for road construction, comprising GH¢1.2bn from ABFA and GH¢1bn from foreign-financed sources. In fact, this allocation is unprecedented in the history of road transport in Ghana! The first phase of the Sinohydro projects will be implemented in 2020. Other road projects will be implemented. A good number of the road projects are expected to be implemented over the medium term and therefore allocations are made in the outer years to complete the road projects”.

The Finance Minister repeated that the 2020 Budget will focus on consolidating the country’s impressive macroeconomic gains for Growth, Jobs and Prosperity for all Ghanaians.

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He said the Akufo-Addo administration in these 3-years has laid the foundation for a stronger economy and urged the house to unanimously approve the ‘Nkosuo and Nkabom’ Budget.