The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta has indicated that Ghana’s debt status is sustainable and there is no way the country will be re-admitted into the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative which it exited about 16 years ago.
Mr Ofori-Atta made these remarks while delivering the 2021 first-quarter budget statement in Parliament on Wednesday, October 28, 2020.
His comment also comes on the back of claims by some members of the opposition that Ghana had been re-enlisted unto the IMF and World Bank’s Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative
”President Akufo-Addo government took Ghana out of the IMF programme in record time. Ironically, those who mismanaged the economy for us to come and fix it are the ones wishing Ghana ill. My message to them is, there is no turning back, HIPC is behind us, economic mismanagement is behind us, the economy stronger today that it was four years ago and will continue to grow stronger and stronger with four more years to do more for the people of Ghana with God’s help,” he said.
He explained that the decision of former President John Kufuor administration to sign Ghana unto the HIPC initiative was due to the poor economic situation inherited from the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government but the John Mahama government failed to maintain the country’s economic gains and again took the country into an IMF programme.
“In 2001, Ghana had no choice but to swallow her pride and to sign up to the HIPC initiative. A legacy left by the outgoing NDC government. Thankfully, President John Agyekum Kufuor got us to completion in record time and came out of HIPC. By 2014, barely two years in office, President Mahama’s home-grown policy failed and Ghana signed up once again unto an IMF programme,” he said.
He indicated that Ghana is making economic progress and “there is no turning back” to the days of HIPC.
Rebuttal : International Monetary Fund (IMF) denies Ghana is back to HIPC
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has explained that Ghana has not been re-admitted into the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative which it exited about 16 years ago.
Consequently, the IMF has stated that a recent update of Ghana’s debt-to-GDP ratio has not triggered any decision or action by the IMF.
The response by the IMF’s Resident Representative to Ghana, Dr. Albert Touna-Mama is following publications this week on social media and by some media houses that Ghana has been declared HIPC.
Graphic Online’s Maxwell Akalaare Adombila reports that in an email to Graphic Online, the Resident Representative of the IMF to Ghana, Dr Albert Touna-Mama, said recent publications that Ghana had been added to a list of HIPC countries was false, flawed and misleading.
The email followed reports in mainstream and social media that increased borrowing and rising debt service cost had pushed Ghana back to HIPC status.
In the email, the Resident Representative said: “We have been made aware of (social) media reports stating that Ghana has recently been added to the list of HIPC by the IMF.”
“The HIPC Initiative is essentially closed for countries that have already reached the Completion Point,” Dr Touna-Mama said.
NDC denies Mahama said Ghana has been declared HIPC by the IMF
Communications Director of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi, has denied allegations levelled against the party’s flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama concerning comments made about the country’s debt position.
John Mahama, during a speech at a Professionals Dialogue series in Accra on Monday, said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts Ghana’s current rate of borrowing and debt at 76.7% debt to GDP ratio and thus had relapsed the country into a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) status.
This, he said, is due to what he believes is economic mismanagement by the governing NPP.
“The IMF in its Sub-Saharan African Regional Economic Outlook forecast the current rate of borrowing and debt at a frightening 76.7% debt to GDP ratio.
“Unfortunately, Ghana is back to HIPC status under Nana Akufo-Addo and Ken Ofori-Atta administration,” Mahama said.