COVID-19 not an excuse for unsustainable national debt - NDC
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) says the government cannot blame the country's "ever-worsening debt position" on the COVID-19 pandemic because the public debt had already reached unsustainable levels before the country recorded its first case of the disease.
The party insists that the country's debt situation is as a result of over three years of "consumption, corruption and wasteful expenditures" which it says have characterised the President Akufo-Addo led New Patriotic Party administration.
Addressing a press briefing today in Accra, the National Communications Officer of the NDC, Mr Sammy Gyamfi said unlike former President John Mahama who used the about GHS70 billion that he added to the Public debt for many significant projects, President Akufo Addo cannot boast of any significant projects he has undertaken with the over GHS138 billion he has added to the country’s Public debt.
He said: "It is important to make the point, that the attempt by the failed Akufo Addo-government to blame our ever-worsening debt position on COVID-19 is untenable and laughable to say the least. This is because, our Public debt was already increasing at an alarming rate and had reached unsustainable levels, with a debt to GDP ratio of 63%, even before we were hit by the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. Therefore, the claim by government spokespersons that COVID-19 is what has accounted for our current unsustainable and catastrophic debt situation, is not borne out by the facts.
"What is even sad and bizarre about the unsustainable and catastrophic debt situation President Akufo Addo has plunged Ghana, is that this government cannot show any significant or self-financing projects that their unprecedented borrowings have been used for. Unlike President Mahama who can point to many tangible, significant and in some cases, self-financing projects that he undertook with the about GHS70 billion he added to the Public debt during his tenure in office, President Akufo Addo cannot boast of any significant or self-financing projects he has undertaken with the over GHS138 billion he has added to the country’s Public debt in the last three (3) and half years.
"For instance, whereas, President Mahama can boast of dozens of hospitals and health facilities such as the Greater Accra Regional Hospital (The Ridge Hospital), The University of Ghana Medical Center, The Ga East Municipal Hospital, The Upper West Regional Hospital, The rehabilitation of the Upper East Regional Hospital, among others, President Akufo Addo cannot boast of a single hospital he has built for Ghanaians since he took office. Also, whereas President Mahama can boast of commencing the construction of 123 new Community Day Senior High Schools (E-Blocks), 46 of which he fully completed, President Akufo Addo cannot boast of a single secondary school he has built since 2017, despite his unprecedented borrowings. Worse if it all, is that President Akufo has abandoned most of the infrastructural projects he inherited from the erstwhile Mahama government to rot.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the reason why President Akufo Addo has very little show for the unprecedented resource envelope that has accrued to his government is that, he has wasted the chunk of the monies on consumption, corruption and wasteful expenditures. His misplaced priorities is what has plunged Ghana into the catastrophic debt situation and economic quagmire we presently find ourselves".
He also urged the Ghanaian electorate to vote out the NPP administration over what he described as the "gross mismanagement of the national economy".