Sammy Gyamfi, Communications Officer of the opposition NDC has defended his flagbearer’s comments about the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) status of Ghana.
According to him, John Dramani Mahama during his Professionals Dialogue series held in Accra on Monday never mentioned that Ghana has been declared HIPC.
Sammy Gyamfi maintained that his flagbearer’s comments, however, do not negate any concerns he, the flagbearer, has made relative to Ghana’s debt position.
“He said we are back to HIPC, and that is different from saying we have been declared as a HIPC by the IMF,” Sammy Gyamfi clarified in an interview on Joy News. “What President Mahama was saying is factual, and that basically is that Ghana is back to the same debt unsustainable position that we were [in] at the time we were declared as a HIPC country by the IMF and World Bank, and we joined that Ghana’s debt sustainability ratio now is not anything to celebrate.”
Former President John Dramani Mahama on Monday told some professionals at a meeting as part of his campaign to seek re-election that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that Ghana’s current rate of borrowing and debt to GDP ratio of 76.7% put the country in a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) status. He explained that this current economic status was due to economic mismanagement by the incumbent NPP.
Mahama stated: “The IMF in its Sub-Saharan African Regional Economic Outlook forecast the current rate of borrowing and debt at a frightening 76.7% debt to GDP ratio. Unfortunately, Ghana is back to HIPC status under Nana Akufo-Addo and Ken Ofori-Attaadministration.”
But the IMF responded that the interpretation by former President Mahama “may be deceptive”.
The IMF maintained that the list on its website which the NDC flagbearer has been referring to is about countries that have been under the HIPC programme since 1996 and it is regularly updated.
Reacting to this, the NDC Communication Officer stated: “Our debt position is unsustainable; the IMF has made that clear. There are independent analysis experts and economists who have also confirmed that indeed our debt position is not sustainable because we have a position where the percentage of our debt to the total value of goods produced and services provided in Ghana, which is our GDP, is projected to hit 76.7%.
He then concluded: “If your debt to GDP ratio crosses the 70% threshold, it means that it is not sustainable, which takes us back to the same place we were at the time we joined the HIPC debt relief programme.”