President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has mounted a stern defence of his government’s expenditure listing 16 projects that borrowed funds have been used for since his assumption of office in January 2017.
In a State of the Nation Address delivered today (March 8, 2023) in Parliament, the President said there were legitimate questions being asked about how the country’s debt situation worsened.
Ghana is trying to restructure most of its public debt, estimated at 576 billion cedis ($45 billion) at the end of November. Local bondholders have been asked to voluntarily exchange 130 billion cedis of debt for new bonds that will pay between 8.35% and 15% interest, compared with an average of 19% on old bonds.
However, he stressed that the government had not been reckless in borrowing and in spending, adding that the debts the nation was servicing were not only contracted during the period of this administration.
President Akufo-Addo said the funds borrowed by his administration had been used to improve the entire country with no district or constituency being left out.
“Mr Speaker, we have spent money on things that are urgent, to build roads and bridges and schools, to train our young people and equip them to face a competitive world,” President Akufo-Addo said.
“Considering the amount of work that still needs to be done on the state of our roads, the bridges that have to be built, considering the number of classrooms that need to be built, the furniture and equipment needs at all stages of education, considering the number of children who should be in school and are not, considering the number of towns and villages that still do not have access to potable water, I daresay no one can suggest we have over borrowed or spent recklessly.
“Yes, I have been in a hurry to get things done, and this includes massive developments in agriculture, education, health, irrigation, roads, rails, ports, airports, sea defence, digitisation, social protection programmes, industrialisation and tourism. We can be justifiably proud of the many things we have managed to do in the past six (6) years. As I go around the country, I hear the pleas for roads, schools, hospitals, and, as the rainy season comes, I wish, as every other Ghanaian does, that we would have built more drains than we have. And I wish we had the resources to do more.
“But, Mr Speaker, I am proud of the amount of work that we have done, especially in the road sector. Roads constitute the largest number of questions asked in this House by Members of Parliament; a large amount of the monies we borrow are for road construction. Shall we dare stop constructing roads?”
Asides the roads, President Akufo-Addo also listed 15 other revenue-generating, developmental and other infrastructure projects that his administration had undertaken.
See the list of the projects the borrowed funds were used for as listed by President Akufo-Addo in the SoNA below;
- implemented successfully a National Identification System with the Ghanacard;
- constructed more railways than any other government in the Fourth Republic;
- established the Zongo Development Fund to address the needs of Zongo and inner-city communities; and under their auspices, we have constructed more infrastructure in the Zongo Communities than any other government in the Fourth Republic;
- constructed more NCA licensed fibre optic cable than any other government in the fourth republic (93% of total);
- increased the proportion of the population with access to toilet facilities from 33% to 59%;
- increased the number of public libraries from 61 from independence until 2017 to 115 in 2022;
- provided more equipment (vehicles, ammunition, etc) to security services than any other government in the Fourth Republic;
- we have successfully implemented the digital address system;
- improved significantly the financing of governance and anti-corruption MDAs like the Ministry of Justice and Office of the Attorney General, NCCE, CHRAJ, EOCO etc.;
- implemented One District, One Factory Initiative. In four years, 106 companies are in operation under 1D1F. 148 factories under construction. This is the largest expansion of that sector since independence;
- constructed more fish landing sites than any other government in the Fourth Republic;
- established Africa’s first national scale electronic pharmacy platform;
- provided free Wifi to 700 senior high schools, the 46 Colleges of Education, 260 district education offices, and an initial successful pilot of 13 public universities;
- introduced drones in the delivery of critical medicine, vaccines and blood to people in remote parts of the country and today, Ghana has the largest medical drone delivery service in the world with six Zipline Distribution Centres in Omenako, Mpanya, Vobsi, Sefwi Wiawso, Kete Krachi and Anum; and
- overseen an improvement in revenue collection, with the introduction of an e-VAT and e-Invoicing System. For example, figures from nineteen (19) taxpaying companies onboarded unto the e-Vat system revealed total recorded monthly sales increasing from two hundred and twenty-two million cedis (GH¢222 million) in November 2021 to seven hundred and twenty million cedis (GH¢720 million) in November 2022. Again, in December 2021, total monthly sales of two hundred and eighty-four million cedis (GH¢284 million) also saw a huge increase to one billion cedis (GH¢1 billion) in December 2022.