The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has rejected claims that it is piling up the country’s debt stock with the number of foreign loans it had acquired in recent times.
Speaking at the “Setting the records straight” series at the party’s headquarters in Accra today [Thursday], the Minister of Transport, Fifi Kwetey said government is rather investing the loans in projects and infrastructure in the country.
“For us in the NDC, foreign loans are meant for investment,” he added.
He explained that the NDC government, led by President John Mahama is harnessing a bright future and fueling national development with the foreign loans.
Every election year, the NDC organises a series of press conferences to address some pertinent issues ahead of the polls.
Ghana’s total public debt as at July this year, was estimated at 110 billion cedis according to the latest summary on economic and financial data released by the Bank of Ghana.
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the NPP running mate, delivering a public lecture on the State of the Ghanaian Economy, recently held that about 66% of Ghana’s total debt since independence, has been accumulated under President Mahama.
Dr. Bawumia also noted that, Ghana’s debt total had ballooned from GHc9.5 billion to its current figure.
The NPP’s ‘pitiful lack of foresight’
But Mr. Kwetey indulged in a small history lesson when he recounted that Ghana’s founder, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, described the forbearers of the NPP as vision-less for failing to realise that the loans that were being contracted in the early 60s for the construction of projects such as the Akosombo dam were investments rather than debts.
The Transport Minister further noted that “nearly six decades after Kwame Nkrumah made that statement, the fact that NPP tradition is still holding the same position unfortunately reveals their pitiful lack of foresight.”
Mr. Kwetey reiterated that “we in the NDC have a great track record of using foreign debt to invest in solid investments,” whilst juxtaposing the NDC’s handling of foreign loans with the NPP’s borrowed $750 million from the international financial market in 2007.
The NPP’s priority in that period was “procuring prepaid meters, buying locomotives when they had not build one centimeters of rail line and using that money, when they were hot in November 2008, to pay salaries,” he added.
As far as the NDC and debt were concerned, Mr. Kwetey said, “the Gas processing infrastructure is not a debt, it is a massive investment. The Kwame Nkrumah Circle interchange is not debt, it is a massive investment. The Kpone Water expansion project is not a debt. It is massive investment. The Tamale Airport expansion project is not a debt. It is massive investment.”