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Ghana’s public debt rises to GH¢127.1b

Ghana’s public debt has risen to a total of GH¢127.1 billion at the end of March 2017, and that is 62.5 per cent of GDP, the Bank of Ghana has said.

The governor of the central bank, Dr. Ernest Addison told journalists in Accra Monday May 22, 2017 that the stock of domestic debt which was GH¢53.4 billion – 31.9 per cent of GDP at the end of 2016 has increased to GH¢55.2 billion – 27.2 per cent of GDP at the end of March 2017. He said external debt increased from GH¢69.2 billion – 41.3 per cent of GDP at the end of December 2016 to GH¢71.9 billion – 35.3 per cent of GDP.

“This brings total public debt at the end of March 2017 to GH¢127.1 billion (62.5% of GDP) up from GH¢122.6 billion (73.3% of GDP) at end 2016,” he said.

He noted that provisional data on government fiscal operations in the first quarter of 2017 indicate a cash deficit of 1.5 per cent of GDP, consistent with the set target for the period. This was on the back of improved expenditure alignment to revenues., he said.

Dr. Addison said total revenue and grants fell short of target by 14.3 per cent, while expenditures remained broadly contained at 11.5 per cent and below programmed target.  

“Total revenue and grants for January to March 2017 amounted to 4.1 per cent of GDP as against a budget estimate of 4.8 per cent.

Total expenditures, including arrears clearance was provisionally reported at 5.6 per cent of GDP compared with a target of 6.3 per cent,” he said.

According to the governor, financing for the deficit, equivalent to 1.5 per cent of GDP was mostly from domestic sources, including drawing down on government deposits with the Bank of Ghana.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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