Govt’s borrowing spree continues

THE Government of Ghana’s borrowing spree continued unabated as it borrowed GH¢1,079,673,121 in treasury notes alone from the domestic market in October, Business Finder can confirm.

The chunk of the funds raised was used to settle maturing debt after the nation was only able to raise US$1 billion instead of $1.5 billion from the international capital market.

Out of the GH¢1.07 billion , GH¢994,862,686 which is a 3-year fixed rate notes was the biggest and was issued on October 26, 2015 at a yield of 24.50 per cent and expected to mature on October 22, 2018.

GH¢51,082,975 worth 2-year fixed rate notes issued on October 12, 2015 at an interest of 24.25 per cent and GH¢33,727,460 1-year note issued on October 5 and 19, 2015 at an interest of 22.50 per cent.

According to a circular from the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), the interest payment would be done half yearly from the date of issue.

The debt instrument is already trading on the Ghana Fixed Income Market (GFIM), operated by the GSE.

With the exception of the 1-year note, the issue was open to non-resident foreigners who also have the privilege to acquire the 5-year and 7-year bonds.

The circular added that interest paid to a non-resident holder, individual and institution on bonds issued by the Government of Ghana is exempted from tax.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies has stated that US$21 billion in interest payments will be paid to investors within the next five years. Some economists and analysts believe that this amount could even be higher.

The country’s public debt stock hit GH¢94.5 billion in June, 2015 according to the bank of Ghana. This further raised concerns of debt overhang if government does not ease its appetite for borrowing.

The total debt stock represented 70.9 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

This is however compared to GH¢89.5 billion, equivalent to 67.5 per cent of GDP in May 2015.

The debt has further escalated by more than US$1.5 billion following September’s Eurobond and other domestic borrowing.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated that Ghana is responsible for its own debt.

“Ultimately Ghana is responsible for the management of its debt. Whilst we can advise and support by creating space for more borrowing within the context of the Extended Credit Facility at the end of the day it is Ghanaians that will approve the borrowing or not”, a communiqué from the Fund revealed.

Source: The Finder

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