Mr. Andrew Awuni, Executive Director of the Center for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) has appealed to Chiefs, Religious Leaders and all statesmen and women of Ghana to impress on the Government of Ghana to go slow with its acquisition of loans for now.
He also called for a National Consultative Conference on the country’s Public Debt issues as a means of building a national consensus on the type of loans our Governments should be allowed to procure and also set limits for every term of office.
Mr. Awuni said the country’s public debt is spiraling out of control and that if nothing was done to stem the tide now, the country and her people will completely loose their sense of dignity and independence that is if they have not already lost it.
Mr. Awuni made these observations in an exclusive interview with the Scandal at the weekend. He said he has to make the appeal to the elders of the country because of what he perceives to be the ‘inability of Ghana’s Parliament to asset itself in these matters.’
“Under all our Governments, with the exception of the Third Republic under Dr. Hilla Limann, our Parliaments have always done the bidding of the Executive regardless of how inappropriate, inconvenient or even misplaced the Government proposals may be,” Mr. Awuni added.
In like fashion it will appear that every loan proposal brought to parliament by the Executive gets passed in spite of the country’s rising debt profile. Only last week during its emergency recall. Parliament was presented with yet another set of loan agreements totaling US$ 10 million for approval.
The loans are: a US$24.5 million Ghana Government/Fidelity Bank Loan for the furnishing of job 600 and another Ghana Government/Africa Development Bank loan of US$76.5 million for a so called Rural Enterprises Development Programme.
At a Press Briefing last week, the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Ghana reported that Ghana’s Public Debt stood at GHc43.9 billion representing 49.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as at the close of August 2013.
Mr. Awuni noted that like most things in Ghana the Public Debt issue has also become intensely political adding that while the opposition parties like to use the increasing debt as a political salvo against the ruling party, the ruling party on its part will always defend saying that there is nothing wrong with borrowing as long as the monies are invested in projects with promising returns.
He said the truth however is that there has to be circumspection and a good sense of responsibility even in the act of borrowing. “When a national debt moves from GHc9bn to GHc43.9bn in five short years we cannot look on unconcern as responsible citizens.” Mr. Awuni opined.
He said the availability of the oil resource to collateralize these loans seems to be the thing spurring our leaders on to take all manner loans as it there is no tomorrow adding that the oil curse that we all dreaded seems to be here with us in more than one way.
Mr. Awuni advised Ghanaians to put aside the partisan policies and examine the question of Ghana’s Public Debt objectively. He said the Government may be in a hurry to impress the people with a lot of projects but that should not be done at the expense of future generations and the sovereignty of the country.