On Friday, January 27, 2023, former president of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, made a presentation at the Chatham House Africa Programme Platform. His talk was on “Africa’s Priorities and Global Role.”
During the presentation, he made several claims. This report looks at five such assertions.
Claim 1: Ghana’s inflation rate is 54% (Minute 16:15 – 16:24).
Data from the Ghana Statistical Service indicates that Ghana’s year-on-year inflation rate for December 2022 is 54.1%.
Claim 2: The 2023 budget has seen the government’s expenditure increase by 82 billion over 2022 (34:20 – 34:35).
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, in its 2023 Budget document (page 184), projected GHC 136,921,204,119 as the government’s total expenditure for 2022. That document (page 188) quoted GHC 190,996,541,127 as the government’s plan to achieve in 2023.
Doing the math, the difference is GHC 54,075,337,008. This is far below the 82 billion mentioned by John Mahama.
Claim 3: Ghana’s debt-to-GDP ratio was 56% at the end of 2016 (1:06:40 – 1:06:50).
According to data from the International Monetary Fund, Ghana’s debt-to-GDP ratio was 55.9% in 2016. The Ministry of Finance, however, in its 2020 (page 248) and 2021 (page 248) quote 56.85% and 56.80%, respectively, as the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio for 2016.
The claim can be rated as true despite the slight variation in figures.
Claim 4: The government did not borrow from the Bank of Ghana to finance its budget in 2016 (1:08:00 – 1:08:30).
Claim 5: The government is increasing tariffs by 29% effective February 2023 after an initial 22% upward review (1:15:50 – 1:16:00).
In August 2022, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission, the state agency mandated to regulate the provision of electricity and water utility services in the country, announced the approval of a 27.15% increase in electricity and a 21.55% increase in water tariffs.
The adjustment took effect on September 1, 2022.
On January 16, 2023, the Commission announced another review of tariffs to take effect on February 1, 2023.
With these new tariffs, electricity would increase by 29.96% and water by 8.3%.