Press highlights increase in Ghana’s debt stock, others

The declaration by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta that Ghana's debt increase of 137 percent between 2016 and 2020 is lower…

The declaration by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta that Ghana’s debt increase of 137 percent between 2016 and 2020 is lower than that of previous administrations is one of the trending stories in the Ghanaian press on Thursday.The Times reports that Ghana’s debt increase of 137 percent between 2016 and 2020 is lower than that of previous administrations, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has disclosed.

Comparing debt levels of all the past governments, Mr. Ofori-Atta said the rate of increase in debt presently, was lower than that of former President John Kufuor, late former President John Mills and former President John Mahama administrations.

Addressing the media amidst ‘fix the country’ protest, the Finance Minister said, between 2004 and 2008, Ghana’s debt stock increased by 30 percent. However, it was high between 2000 and 2004, a period in which the country obtained debt forgiveness from multilateral and bilateral institutions.

Also, between 2008 and 2012, the debt stock increased by 269 percent, whilst between 2012 and 2016, the increase in the debt stock was 243 percent.

“Between 2016 and 2020, the increase in Ghana’s debt stock was 137 per cent (This includes the cost of the banking sector clean-up, excess capacity charges and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic),” Mr Ofori-Atta said.

“We have financed the construction of seven ongoing interchanges across the country, including those at Takoradi, Tamale, Tema, Obetsebi Lamptey and Pokuase to ease traffic congestion and enhance productivity,” he said.

Despite the impact of the pandemic, he said, the rate of growth of the public debt has been lower under this government than under previous administrations.

The newspaper says that Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia yesterday presented 20,000 wheelchairs to Persons with Disability (PWDs) to facilitate mobility and enhance their dignity.

The wheelchairs initiative was by the government and the World Bank to support PWDs and some health institutions across the country.

“I am delighted to announce that the government, in partnership with the World Bank, is providing 20,000 wheelchairs to be distributed to our brothers and sisters with disability,” the Vice President said.

“Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, will ensure fair distribution across the country. Each district will have its share of the wheelchairs through the various district health directorates.”

“The donation of these wheelchairs to stakeholders and PWDs will enhance personal mobility, a precondition for enjoying human rights and living in dignity and assist them to become more productive members of society,” he said.

Dr. Bawumia noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had taught governments and humanity how to adopt new ways to improve lives of citizens.

Government was exploring opportunities to remove existing barriers in public buildings, educational systems, healthcare and in the job market to provide opportunities for persons with disability, he said.

The Daily Guide reports that as Muslims in Ghana and across the globe climax the end of Ramadan with the celebration of Eid-ul-fitr scheduled for tomorrow, May 13, the NPP is pleased to congratulate them on this milestone occasion, and to wish them Eid Mubarak in advance.

Eid-ul-fitr, otherwise referred to as the “feast of the breaking of the fast”, is an important festivity celebrated by Muslims all over the World to mark the end of the holy month of Fasting.

It is characterised by merrymaking, alms-giving and the observance of Eid Prayers to thank Almighty Allah for seeing Muslims through the holy month of Ramadan, during which time, Muslims intensify their supplications and good deeds.

It is, however, hoped that they are able to maintain this same lifestyle in the other eleven months of the year since the Allah they served in the month of Ramadan is the same Allah today and forever.

Unfortunately, this year’s Ramadan, like last year’s, was not observed with the usual buzz and traditional activities associated with this important religious festivity because of Covid.

It is however refreshing to observe that, unlike last year, the Covid restrictions are relatively relaxed during the 2021 Ramadan allowing Muslims to observe these religious acts including congregational prayers such as iftar, tarawih and tahajjud subject to the existing protocols.

This development, without doubt, signalled that by the grace of Allah, we are gradually seeing the end of the pandemic. The Party is hopeful that, next year, Muslims in the country will congregate as they have done over the years, and observe Ramadan and celebrate Eid ul-Fitr fully and without any restrictions.

But, until then, it is vital that we continue to maintain the measures of enhanced hygiene and social distancing protocols to contain the spread of the virus, as they are the surest way to a quick return to a life of normalcy.

Since we are not completely out of the woods yet, the party, while commending Muslims for strictly adhering to the Covid health protocols throughout Ramadan, entreats them to replicate this feat in the Eid celebrations as urged upon them by His Eminence the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, who announced that 2021 Eid prayers should be observed at various Mosques across the country instead of the usual open spaces where Muslims congregate in large numbers.

The NPP also wishes to use this occasion to appeal to religious sects in the country particularly the Methodist church and the Muslim community to continue to resort to constructive engagements and dialogue as the only means of finding amicable solution to the Wesley Girls debacle, which by far, is threatening the age-long religious harmony and peaceful coexistence between the two dominant religions in the country.

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