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False! Public debt was not $36 billion before NDC left office in 2016

Claim: The Deputy Minister for Energy, Andrew Egyapa Mercer, had claimed that the total public debt before the National Democratic Congress (NDC) left office in 2016 was $36 billion.

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Verdict: False. According to the 2020 Annual Public Debt Management Report and the 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, the total debt stock before the NDC left office was nowhere near $36 billion. The figure was $29 million. 

Full Text 

The Deputy Minister for Energy, Andrew Egyapa Mercer, has claimed that the total public debt before the National Democratic Congress (NDC) left office in 2016 was $36 billion.

Mr Mercer, who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Sekondi Constituency in the Western Region of Ghana, said so on TV3’s morning show Newday. The show has been published on its YouTube account and his statement can be found in the (37:18 – 37:31) of the video.

During the show, the Deputy Minister said, We can do the analysis between the period when former president John Agyekum Kufour left office our total debt was $9 billion equivalent and where they  (NDC) took it to the region of $36 billion.”

Verification 

DUBAWA sourced data from the 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy from the Ministry of Finance and the government’s 2020 Annual Public Debt Management Report. 

The 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy on page 29 stipulates the total debt stock for 2016.  In nominal terms, the public debt for 2016 was $29 million. According to the ministry, this combines the domestic and external debt of $16 million and $12 million, respectively. 

Source: 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy  

On page 12, section 5 of the 2020 Annual Debt Management Report, it was revealed that the public debt for 2016 was $29 million and not $36 million. There was no other year during the regime of the NDC where the public debt was more than $30 billion. 

Source: 2020 Annual Debt Management Report.

However, the public debt could be attributed to 2018, which was $35 billion. So, it is inaccurate for the Deputy Minister for Energy, Mr Mercer, to claim that the NDC took the public debt in 2008 at $9 billion and $36 billion in 2016.

Conclusion

The claim that the total public debt was $36 billion before the NDC left office in 2016 is false. The public debt was $29 million. 

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