Dr Ernest Addison, BoG Governor

The Bank of Ghana has confirmed Ghana’s total public debt stock at GH¢291.6 billion, approximately 76.1% of Gross Domestic Product at the end of December 2020, its March 2021 Summary of Economic and Financial Data revealed.

At the same time, the fiscal deficit of GDP (that is the difference between expenditure and revenue) was also confirmed at 11.7% of GDP, though the World Bank and others have put it above 13% of GDP.

According to the figures, external debt alone stood at GH¢141.8 billion, approximately US$24.7 billion. This is also equivalent to 37.0% of GDP.

The domestic debt was however slightly higher at GH¢149.8 billion at the end of 2020, about 39.1% of GDP.

The financial sector debt also stood at GH¢15.3 billion in December 2020, but GH¢100 million lower, from the September 2020 data. This is however equivalent to 4.0% of GDP.

For the fiscal deficit to GDP, the Central Bank figures confirmed the 11.7% financing gap at the end of December 2020.

Total expenditure was equivalent to 26.1% of GDP, with capital expenditure accounting for 3.2 percent of GDP.

Total revenue and grants however was estimated at 14.3% of GDP. Domestic revenue was however 14.1% of GDP.

In the 2021 Budget, government said total revenue and grants exceeded the revised target by 2.7%, amounting to GH¢55.1 billion, while total expenditures including arrears clearance amounted to GH¢100.05 billion, exceeding programmed expenditures by 2.4%.

Total revenues and grants was revised downwards by GH¢13.4 billion to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on revenues, while total expenditures were revised upwards by GH¢11.8 billion to accommodate COVID-19 Related expenditures.

Covid-19 spending pushes Ghana’s debt to GH¢286Bn

Ghana’s public debt stock jumped from GH¢274.1 billion in September 2020 to GH¢286.9 billion in November 2020, according to the January 2021 Bank of Ghana’s Summary of Economic and Financial Data.

This was equivalent to $50.2 billion and represented 74.4% of GDP.

Fitch forecasts debt to remain flat at 75% of GDP in 2024

Ratings agency, Fitch, said early this month that Ghana’s debt will ‘plateau’ at approximately 75% of Gross Domestic Product from 2024, international ratings agency, Fitch, has said in its latest paper on “Energy Sector Debt a Risk to Ghana’s Post-Pandemic Debt Trajectory”.

Accordingly, the debt will continue to rise in 2021 and 2022 due to high Covid-19 pandemic-related spending and the realisation of energy sector liabilities.