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Ghana’s public debt stock increases to 73.3% of GDP – Minister

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Mr Ken Ofori-Atta,the Minister of Finance, on Thursday said the total public debt stock as at the end of 2016 stood at 73.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) up from 71.63 per cent in 2015.

That, he said, was due to the larger than expected fiscal deficit and financing requirement in 2016.

Mr Ofori-Atta said this when he was presenting the First Budget Statement under President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo’s regime on the floor of Parliament in Accra.

He said domestic and external debt stood at 32.02 per cent of GDP and 41.29 percent, respectively.

“In nominal terms, the public debt stock as at end 2016 stood at GH¢122.3 billion ($29.2 billion), with domestic and external debt of GH¢53.4 billion ($12.8 billion) and GH¢68.9 billion ($16.5 billion), respectively.

“Ghana issued its fifth Eurobond on the International Capital Market with a face value of 750 million dollars and a yield of 9.25 percent. The Bond was a back-end amortising maturity with a weighted average tenor of five years.

“The principal is expected to be repaid in three instalments of $250 million in September 2020, September 2021 and September 2022,” he added.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the Energy Sector Levies Act, 2015 (Act 899) was enacted to “consolidate existing energy sector levies to ensure efficient utilisation of proceeds generated from the levies, impose a price stabilisation and recoveries levy to facilitate sustainable long term investments in the energy sector, and to provide for other related matters”.

He said the law requires the utilisation of the energy sector levies mainly for the clearance of legacy debts of SOEs operating in the energy sector, to support power generation and power sector infrastructure, subsidy for premix fuel, and the stabilisation of petroleum prices.

“A total amount of GH¢3.2 billion was programmed to be collected as total Energy Sector Levies (ESL) for the year 2016, but actual collections at the end of the year were GH¢3.3 billion. A breakdown of the utilisation of the levies is provided in the Budget Statement.”

He noted that there were a few challenges in the utilisation of the proceeds and “we will have to come to this august House for an amendment of the Act”.

Source: GNA

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