Bank of Ghana MPC leaves out public debt data in recent press briefings

Ghana’s public debt has been hitting the roof for a long time now, driven largely by excessive government spending, mismanagement and fiscal indiscipline, governments have been unable to rein it in.

According to recently released data from the Bank of Ghana, in August the public debt was almost 80 per cent of GDP.

The country’s debt has reached unsustainable levels as a result of which all the major credit rating agencies in the world have rated Ghana’s economy as junk. The country is therefore unable to access credit on the international market because of its high inability to service its debts, and has been compelled to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help.

The Bank of Ghana Monetary Policy Committee meets regularly to review the country’s monetary and fiscal situations, and as it always does, organise a press briefing to share with the media and announce the policy rate. About two weeks ago the Bank held its 108th Monetary Policy Committee meeting and then met the press on October 6 and made the usual announcement.

The announcement is always followed with the release of a press statement that covers all the important and relevant areas of the Committee’s deliberations. The statement which is read by the Governor of the central bank would always have a section on the country’s public debt, both domestic and external debts and how that is impacting the economy.

However, the last time the Bank mentioned the public debt figures in its press briefing was August 17, 2022 after an emergency meeting. The Bank after the meeting issued the usual press statement containing information on public debt.

MPC Press Release - Emergency MPC Meeting August 17, 2022

According to the August statement, as at the end of June 2022, Ghana’s public debt increased to GH¢393.4 billion – that is 78.3 per cent of GDP.

The Bank of Ghana, said that was compared with 76.6 per cent of GDP (GH¢351.8 billion) at the end of December 2021.

The breakdown was as follows: Domestic debt was GH¢190.1 billion (37.8 per cent of GDP), while the external debt was GH¢203.4 billion (40.5 per cent of GDP).

While looking for information on the public debt in the October 6, 2022 statement, the word debt appeared only once. We then went back to previous statements to double-check, and consistently, the public debt had been captured.

Check out the statements for July and October.

MPC Press Release - July 2022-2
MPC Press Release - October 2022

By Emmanuel K Dogbevi

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