Seth Terkper, Former Finance Minister
Government’s Issuance calendar for the first quarter of this year (January to March) has revealed that it intends to borrow an amount of GHȼ17,400.00 million to rollover forecast maturities of GH¢15,504.43 million.
The Ministry of Finance’s monthly fiscal forecast and provisional medium-term debt management strategy (MTDS) for 2017, which disclosed this, said the new administration will have no option than to manage the remaining GH¢1,895.57 million for its operations spanning January to March.
Per the calendar, the issuance frequency for the 91-day and 182-day instruments would be weekly, while the 1-Year Note would be issued bi-weekly through the primary auction, with settlement occurring on first and third Mondays of each month.
In the case of the 2-Year Note, it would be issued monthly through the primary auction, with settlement occurring on second Mondays of each month while the 3- and 5-year bonds would be done per the calendar through the book-building method, with settlement on the last Mondays of each month.
Tall debt legacy
The previous National Democratic Congress (NDC), led by former President John Mahama, increased the country’s debt from GH¢9.5 billion to over GH¢120 billion in eight years.
Pundits have blamed the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry for not disclosing the actual national total debt figures after each government borrowing event but massaged the figures to satisfy their political superiors.
Given the aforementioned, the country was spending over GH¢10 billion every month to service the national debt, which was more than the amount of money that was set aside for government’s recurrent expenditure.
Monies released to most Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were far below those budgeted for because of the development.
For December 2016, Government borrowed GH¢6,970.06 million (i.e. close to GH¢7 billion) and GH¢2,080.04 million (i.e. over GH¢2 billion) for the first week of January.
By Samuel Boadi