…Says it is taking Ghana back to HIPC
Hon. James Klutse Avedzi, Deputy Minority Leader, for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has taken a swipe at the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia administration for plunging the country into huge debt six months after taking over the reins of government.
The Deputy Minority Leader, in response to the country’s debt figures regarding the $15billion loan/financial leverage facility from China by Ghana’s government, stated this in an interview with The Republic in Accra yesterday.
“The loan facility would raise the country’s debt by 50 per cent, would raise the country’s debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 72 per cent to about 130 per cent.”
“It is going to plunge the country into an era of debt distress. We are going to be very stressed as debt is concerned. Ghana’s GDP is approximated at $45 billion. They are giving us a debt half of the size of the country’s economy. Ghana is going to be debt stressed because of this,” he said.
Without mincing words berating the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia administration, Mr. Avedzi expressed dismay at the huge debt the country has already amassed less than midway into its four-year mandate.
“We are alarmed and bewildered with the suffocating debt profile of Ghana in just six months or less than a year of the NPP administration,” he stated, adding that despite the huge debt profile, there are no proportional projects to justify the borrowing done by the administration.”
“The NPP administration is gradually selling the future of this country by the unsustainable debts with no tangible projects, and I am afraid this could take us back to HIPC,” the Minority Leader told The Republic.
The Vice President, Dr. Muhammad Bawunia led a government delegation to China and announced on his return a deal that will potentially hand Ghana a $15 billion worth of investment by the Chinese government.
He brought with him two MOUs and promised that details of the agreement will be brought to Parliament for scrutiny before passage.
But Hon. Avedzi chastised the Vice President, for spearheading the agreement to contract the loan from the Asian country, despite him being a heavy critic of the erstwhile National Democratic Congress government’s decision to contract a similar loan.
“We are dealing with a country where borrowing $1billion of Eurobond was described by Bawumia himself as very reckless borrowing and he put in perspective the GDP ratio when we were borrowing just $1billion.
The ruling party, Hon. Avedzi said, has virtually reversed all the gains made by the NDC government, indicating that the loan would plunge the country into a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) status.
“In the 2017 budget by this government, the debt to GDP of 72% was vilified as the worst this country could ever have, now to add $15 or $19bn of an additional loan in such a short period will push our debt to GDP to the region of 120% and 130% of GDP.
“That is the worst that you can find in the world, it could breakdown our country economy and we will go back to the era of HIPC,” he said.
He contended that, “For a person like Bawumia to now be saying that we should be clapping for him for ditching us into 130% debt to GDP is frightening, scary and reckless.”
Hon. Avedzi said in less than a year of the administration of President Akufo-Addo has brought a steady decline to the Ghanaian nation, thereby calling for concerted action to stem the slide.
He noted that the future of the nation currently hangs on the cliffhanger as groups committed to the balkanisation of the country now operates with bravado and remain unhindered.
The Presidency, the Minority Leader said, remained so lethargic, confused and unsure footed in confronting all the challenges that confront us today, yet it is mostly responsible for the repulsive developments.
He further chastised the inability of the current government to build on the benefits of the economic stability and growth in the country few months ago during the administration of John Mahama.