Ghana ‘in high risk of debt distress’: Finance minister | Debt News

Minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta says depreciation of the cedi ‘severely affecting’ Ghana’s capacity to handle its public debt.

Ghana is at excessive danger of debt misery and has agreed on a debt administration technique with the Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF), finance minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta stated on Thursday.

Ofori-Atta is in the midst of negotiating a reduction package deal with the IMF because the West African nation faces its worst financial disaster in a era.

“The present debt sustainability evaluation carried out reveals that Ghana is now thought of to be in excessive danger of debt misery,” the minister instructed lawmakers throughout his presentation of the 2023 finances.

“Authorities and the IMF have agreed on programme goals, a preliminary fiscal adjustment path, debt technique and financing required for the programme,” he stated, including he hopes to achieve a deal “very quickly”.

The depreciation of the Ghanaian cedi was “severely affecting” the nation’s capacity to handle its public debt, which has elevated to $48.9bn this yr, he instructed parliamentarians, saying the forex has misplaced greater than 50 % of its worth.

“Our inventory of debt has elevated by 93 billion Ghana cedis ($7bn) this yr alone as a result of depreciation of the cedi for the reason that starting of 2022.”

Ghana will implement a debt trade programme to handle the challenges, he stated.

Financial progress is anticipated to sluggish to three.7 % of gross home product (GDP) in 2022 from 6.7 % final yr, and to sluggish additional to 2.8 % in 2023, he stated.

Ofori-Atta has confronted requires dismissal from each the governing celebration and opposition who accuse him of financial mismanagement. Final week, he apologised for the nation’s financial hardship however defended himself in opposition to their claims.

“I acknowledge our financial system is going through difficulties and the folks of Ghana are enduring hardships,” he stated final Friday. “Because the particular person President Akufo-Addo has put in command of this financial system, I really feel the ache personally, professionally, and in my soul.”

On Thursday, Ofori-Atta stated Ghana would impose a debt restrict on non-concessional financing amongst different reforms, and can deal with utilizing financial coverage to manage inflation, which has exceeded 40 %.

The federal government will freeze new tax waivers for overseas corporations and evaluate tax exemptions for mining, oil and gasoline corporations. It’s going to additionally freeze hiring for civil and public servants, he stated.

Nonetheless, Ofori-Atta didn’t provide any cuts to spending on flagship programmes, and detailed a swath of infrastructure venture expansions resembling street enlargement.