Ghana’s debt balloon’s to ¢304.6 billion

Cedi

Ghana’s borrowing spree has resulted in total public debt of ¢304.6 billion as of March 2021, according to the Bank of Ghana (BoG).

This is an increase by ¢67.9 compared to the same period last year when the debt stock stood at ¢236.7.

It also represents 70.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an 8.4% increase from the same period in 2020.

Even though the debt to GDP ratio has increased in the past months, it is still lower than the peak 76.1% figure registered in December 2020.

Ghana’s $3billion Eurobond in March and other domestic bonds floated over the period accounts significantly for the rising debt, with a marginal expansion of the economy having a minimal impact on the debt to GDP figures.

At the end of 2020, Ghana’s debt was at ¢291.6 billion, which implies ¢13billion has been added in the first quarter of 2021.

Composition

The external debt component went up to ¢141 billion (32.5% of GDP) compared to ¢125.5 (32.7% of GDP) for the same period last year.

Domestic debt also rose to ¢163.6 (37.7% of GDP) compared to ¢111.3 (29.0% of GDP) for the same period in the previous year.

World Bank Projects Public Debt To Hit 81.1% Of GDP In 2023

The World Bank has projected that Ghana’s fiscal path will result in continued debt accumulation, with public debt reaching 81.1 % of GDP in 2023, before starting to decline.

In its 5th Ghana Economic Update, the World Bank said this is mainly driven by a continuous need for government support to the economy, high levels of public investment, and restructuring costs of the energy sector.

The bank further stated that pandemic-induced fiscal deficits would remain elevated in the medium term.

“The crisis has already led to the suspension of the fiscal rule and substantially driven up financing needs. To meet these exceptional financing needs and maintain macroeconomic stability, the government will need to resume fiscal consolidation efforts as soon as possible, with particular focus on reforms to increase public revenue,” said Pierre Laporte, Country Director of the World Bank.

“Authorities should consider reforms to widen the tax base, strengthen tax administration, reduce tax exemptions, plug revenue loopholes and leakages, and combat tax evasion.”

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