A culture and tourism icon Kwasi Kyei Darkwah (KKD) has described as foolishness and nonsensical, the use of Databank, a company co-founded by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, as transactional advisors for the international loans Ghana takes.
“I read a report yesterday that broke my heart. I saw how much Ghana owes but I also found that apparently, the minister of finance’s company or former company, is the transaction advisor to the monies we borrow. So, as Ghana gets poorer, the minister of finance’s company or former company, gets richer”, he pointed out on state broadcaster GTV’s breakfast show hosted by Kafui Dey on Wednesday, 17 August 2022.
“Is this what we want to continue in this country? Do we want to elect people into office, give them their pay and perks and then allow them and their friends and their companies or their former companies to be the very beneficiaries of the woes of our country?” he questioned.
Ghana’s total debt stock hit GH¢391.9 billion as of March 2022, per data from the Bank of Ghana.
According to the central bank, the country’s debt stock stood at US$ 55.1 billion.
Even though it dropped by $3 billion in the first quarter of 2022 from $58.4 billion in January to $55.1 billion in March, it increased in cedi terms due to the depreciation of the currency.
The cedi increment was GH¢ 40 billion.
The total debt stock was GH¢351.7 billion in January 2022.
The increase in the debt stock in cedis increases Ghana’s debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio to 78%.
Year-on-year, from March 2021 to March 2022, the debt stock rose by about 30% from GH¢304.6 billion to GH¢391.9 billion.
The domestic component of debt rose by GH¢8 billion from GH¢ 181.9 billion in January to GH¢ 189.9 billion in March, which represents about 38% of the projected GDP for 2022.
The external component of the debt, increased significantly by about GH¢ 32 billion in the first 3 months of 2022, from GH¢169.8 billion in January to GH¢201.9 billion in March.
In Mr Darkwah’s view, it was important for parliament to stop the plunder by passing laws that proscribe the finance minister from using his private company as a transaction advisor for state loans.
“This is not only about the minister of finance; this is about parliament; parliament, you must be ashamed of yourself. You have failed the people of Ghana, because I don’t think from the time of Nkrumah to date, whoever is the minister of finance should be benefitting every time our country goes to borrow money”, he complained.
“Is that what happened under everybody in this country? What precedent are we setting? Yesterday, when I read the report, I was so broken and I was like: ‘Do people know this?’ So, I called four different people; some in civil society, some in government, some in the former government, and they said: ‘Oh, but this is general knowledge’, and I’m like: ‘It’s general knowledge and parliament thinks it’s OK?’”, Mr Darkwah wondered.
“So, whoever wins the next election will also set up their own companies and be the transaction advisors when we go and take a loan? What is wrong with us as a people? So, the person’s motive for even going for a loan, for me, now, is not clear because every time we take a loan, their company makes money. Does this make sense to us as a people?” Mr Darkwah complained.
He said: “We have leaders of industry, some, who have been deprived of their finances and, in the meantime, the people who are sitting in power, are stealing us blind and all people can tell me is: ‘Oh, but this is general knowledge’. What sort of foolishness and nonsense is going on in this country? What a shame! What a damn shame!”
“When they are out of power, will they want whoever comes into power, to repeat what they are doing? This is not NDC, NPP. Parliamentarians, you are supposed to help us protect the public purse. You can’t just go and sit there and vote: ‘I am NPP, I am NDC’. Vote your conscience and vote your constituency”, he charged.
“You cannot become the transaction advisor for going to take loans when you are the minister of finance. How is that possible?” he stressed.
Mr Darkwah said parliament must not sit aloof and watch the status quo continue. “…Why are we doing this to ourselves? So, those of you in government want to be the only people who make all the money; everybody else should be in a fix. What kind of nonsense is that? Conflict of interest is where it starts”.
He wondered why the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has also not intervened.
“Now water is going up, electricity is going up and some people that we have put into positions of authority, are raping the country. Why? How much of the money will you spend? You are leaving it for your children and your children know you are doing this? And your children will come and tell other children: ‘Your father didn’t work hard enough’ because you were stealing from the people. So, those children whose parents did not steal from the people, will be suffering and your foolish children will come and tell those children: ‘Your father didn’t work hard enough’. No. Their father didn’t steal state money”.
“What is this? And nobody wants to talk about it because if you talk about it, they will impoverish you. Hey, if nobody kills you, you’ll die your won natural death”, he said.