Time not appropriate to raise capital from international market – Finance Minister

The country will go to the international capital markets to raise financial resources to shore up government revenue and finance development projects in the country when the time is ripe, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has said.

“The spread of Ghana’s bonds have widened on the international capital market to about 500 basis due to the country’s growing public debt and this is not the good time to go the international market to raise capital,” he said last week when he briefed the press about the developments in the economy.

The Minister was responding to a question why the government was not using the international capital market to raise more capital to shore up government revenue.

He said government would not issue Euro bonds this year and would look within the local bond market as well as rely on alternative instruments such as term loans to raise additional revenue to meet government’s local and international financial obligations.

That, Mr Ofori-Atta said was as a result of the increase in the spread of Ghana’s bonds on the international market due to the country’s growing public debt.

“We must all take blame for the country’s growing public debt,” the Finance Minister said.

Ghana’s current debt to Gross Domestic Ratio as at the end of November 2021 stood at 78.4 per cent which is above the international threshold of 60 per cent.

But Mr Ofori-Atta explained that the current debt to GDP ratio indicated a reduction in the rate of debt accumulation (that is declined by a half to 18 per cent as of November 2021 from 34 per cent in 2020).

“This attests to an improvement in our debt and liability management, contrary to” what had been reported in the media.

The Finance Minister said government would pursue prudent expenditure management and spend within its budget.

“We are strengthening expenditure management in 2022 and beyond.  To ensure that we match all expenditure to revenue inflows, all expenditure commitments in 2022 will be adjusted to match revenue collection,” he said.

Mr Ofori-Atta said “in accordance with section 25 of the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA) law, the quarterly expenditure ceilings of the approved budget will include up to a 20 per cent downward adjustment, beginning in the first quarter of 2022 in commitments across board for all covered entities benefiting from the 2022 budget, subject to revenue performance.”

He said the fiscal consolidation agenda was not going to be only revenue-led but also expenditure focused.

Mr Ofori-Atta said in addition to the E-Levy, the Ministry was committed to the implementation of other revenue measures including exemptions bill and property taxes and internally generated funds.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE

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