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23.06.2019 Feature Article

The Source Of Ghana’s Debt And The Draining Of The Economy

Ghana is slowly dying from a huge foreign debtGhana is slowly dying from a huge foreign debt

Before the NPP government won the 2016 elections, the former government under Mahama was pursued by various corruption issues. For example, a former Attorney General committed to recovering millions of dollars that the government would have illegally paid to NDC financier and businessman Alfred Woyome. The case was a very difficult one in Ghana.

After 2012, the year in which John Mahama came to power, the national debt tripled from $ 8.2 billion to $ 26.4 billion. Economists argue that the new government would work on reducing government debt and poor economic indicators such as high inflation but nothing of that sort have been realized, instead, the NPP government is also on a borrowing spree. Even Nana Akufo Addo confirmed with his words that: "We won’t stop borrowing, even US borrows."

Ghanaians quite understand the NPP’s claim that they are cleaning the mess caused by the NDC because Nana Akufo Addo’s duration in the office is too short to repair damage which has taken several years to occur.

However, it worth to acknowledge the fact that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, made it public that New data released by the Bank of Ghana puts the country’s total debt by July 2018, at 159.4 billion cedis, representing 65.9 percent of the GDP. The external component of the debt stood at 18.2 billion U.S dollars, while the domestic debt hit 73.8 billion cedis. Ghanaians can judge by themselves which political party had over-borrowed.

Another problem draining Ghana's economy or costing the country a fortune, which needs immediate attention is the number of ministers the Ghanaian leader has appointed.

After appointing 56 ministers that he had previously given a job, Nana Addo appointed fifty additional state secretaries and four new ministers. The appointments are difficult to reconcile with the promise by the government that spending would be curtailed.

However, the important question here is: How can Nana Akufo Addo ministers or leaders receive a salary of 4,000 dollars (around 3,800 euros) per month, at least two cars with free fuel, a house and personal security, hoping the economy of Ghana will be better for suffering Ghanaians to live like normal human beings?

The truth is the number of ministers Nana Akufo Addo has appointed, plus their salaries and benefits are costing Ghana a fortune and exhausting the economy. It is not the number of ministers which facilitate the improvement of a country’s economy or create employment but simply planning and efficiency.

African countries are richer than European countries but good planning, efficiency, developmental plans and the creation of jobs have made look richer than any African country.

Another important issue which is affecting Ghana's government is, for example, if the minister for agriculture is not performing efficiently, he would be allowed to keep that post to eternity, whereby in Europe, presidents analyze the entire political administration at the end or beginning of each year, to find out where there were success and failures.

This is the reason in my second country, Belgium, the former Health Minister, Maggie De Block, was appointed the Minister for Asylum and Migration and shockingly, she was excellent with her new post that Belgium is not suffering from an influx of illegal immigrants like other European countries today.

Nana Akufo Addo, I have said it many times that I will always respect you as a leader because I can't disrespect my country's president, while I will expect someone to respect me. However, I will criticize some things which aren't right in your administration.

For example, giving a post to relatives is very bad for the country, because when they are not doing well, you'll find it hard to change them to avoid a disgrace, therefore, please, avoid giving a post to any relative.

Frankly speaking, Nana Akufo came with a good plan to salvage Ghana’s economy and make life better for the suffering masses but the extravagant lifestyle he introduced to his ministers has partially or fully affected the economy of Ghana.

There are certain mistakes that one can’t turn back the clock, therefore, with the present state of Ghana’s economy, Nana Akufo Addo, you have a heavy load on your head to carry.

Joel Savage
Joel Savage, © 2019

Joel Savage is a Ghanaian-Belgian journalist and author. The accredited press-card holder of the Flemish Journalists Association once contributed regularly to the features column of the Daily Graphic, The Mirror, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator. The writer currently lives in Belgium., Author column: JoelSavage

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