A disclaimer poster is making the rounds on social media, warning the international donor and investment community that Ghanaians would not be liable for the repayment of the US$5 billion Eurobond that the Akufo Addo administration plans to float in 2021.
The poster which is emblazoned with the smiley face of President Akufo Addo reads: “This is to notify the world at large that the person whose photograph and names appear above is not authorised to act or transact on behalf of the citizens of the Republic of Ghana. And that the nation and our future generations shall not be held liable for any penalties on bad loans negotiated and/or borrowed by him.”
The disclaimer is similar to what Kenya’s issued against the Uhuru Kenyatta-led administration’s insatiable appetite for racking up public debt.
The source of this disclaimer is still unclear, but it aptly captures the general discontent in the country with the unbridled accumulation of public debt by the Akufo Addo administration, which has recorded more public debt than all governments put together since Ghana’s independence.
Yet, the government is being criticised for the minimal investment in infrastructure to reflect all the loans and borrowings the government had done in the past four years.
In the spirit of the disclaimer, popular Ghanaians businessman, Dr. Kofi Amoah, a few days ago started a campaign to petition against the Akufo Addo administration’s plan to secure more debt in the name of Ghana.
Dr. Amoah has started a petition to stop the government from accessing more loans from the international market and donor community, particularly in the heels of pre-2016 promises made by the incoming New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration that it will run an economy devoid of foreign aid.
Dr. Amoah’s petition is similar to an ongoing petition by enraged Kenyan’s who have threatened their government against going for foreign loans. At the last count, some 200,000 Kenyans had already signed the petition.
As at the last check, the petition which is currently live on Change.org has accrued some 604 people out of a target of
In an interview with Accra-based Starr FM, Dr. Amoah said, “the Kenyans have amassed so many signatures and here you are comparing two nations who got independence within ten years of each other and the action that a group of citizens are taking. Let’s see how Ghanaians react.”
He noted: “There’s a certain level of fear inside us that’s not allowing us to be vocal. Not necessarily to put somebody down but express our inner feelings…we went through the culture of silence for a long time. Adu Boahen came and broke it, we got multi-party democracy. When I spoke to my friend about it, they said ‘be careful, these people can do this to you.”
Meanwhile, Bright Simons, a founding member of the policy think-tank, IMANI has compared the raw deals the Akufo Addo administration gets from all its loan rendezvous, compared to Kenya.
“In 2021 Kenya will spend ~15% of gov’t income servicing debt. Ghana will spend ~45% to be disbursed over 3 years at ~2% interest rate. Ghana just borrowed $3 bn at an average of 8%+. 200,000 Kenyans are protesting. Ghana is celebrating,” Bright Simons said in a Tweet.
Meanwhile, Ghana’s fiscal deficit has hit a high of 13.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and its public debt has hit GHC 291.6billion from GHC 122billion in 2019, according to the Budget Statement for 2021.
This extremely hopeless data was presented by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and leader of government business, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
The public debt means that Ghana’s debt-to-GDP has hit approximately 80%. This is perhaps the highest in Ghana’s recent history and also far above the 70% threshold economies must not cross so as not to be categorised as operating a highly indebted and unsustainable debt portfolio.