EconomyFact Check

False! Ghana’s public debt in 2019 was not GH¢225 billion cedis

Claim: The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama, has claimed that the national debt of Ghana rose from GH¢120 billion in 2016 to GH¢225 billion in 2019. 

Verdict: False. According to data from the Annual Public Debt report for the 2020 financial year, Ghana’s public debt in 2016 and 2019 was 122 billion and 218 billion cedis, respectively. 

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Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, John Mahama, has claimed that Ghana’s public debt in 2019 was 225 billion cedis. He made this claim while delivering his Post Election Acceptance Speech at the University of Development Studies (UDS) at Tamale on May 15, 2023, after being elected as the party’s flagbearer.

In his address, he said, 

“The fact, however, remains that by March 2020 a pre-COVID era in Ghana – the national debt had already increased by GH¢100 billion within three short years. This shows a steep rise from GH¢120 billion in 2016 to GH¢225 billion in 2019.”

The former President’s claim can be found from 1:31:21 to 1:31:34 on his Facebook page, where the address was telecasted live. It has received 54,000 views. 


Public debt is the total amount, including total liabilities, borrowed by the government to meet its development budget.

DUBAWA researched and found the Annual Public Debt Report for the 2020 Financial Year. This report was put together by the Finance Ministry and submitted to Parliament by the Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonus, on March 29, 2021.

In the report, Ghana’s total debt stock in 2016 and 2019 was GH¢122 billion and GH¢218 billion. This can be sighted on page 12 of the report

DUBAWA also looked at data from the Public Debt Statistical Bulletin for 2021. We discovered that the public debt for 2019 was GH¢218 billion cedis. This can also be sighted on page 9 of the bulletin. 


The claim by Mr Mahama that Ghana’s public debt rose from GH¢120 billion in 2016 to GH¢225 billion in 2019 is untrue. 

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