IMANI Africa Vice President, Kofi Bentil, has pointed out that despite fighting the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama government over economic mismanagement, that government proved more prudent in managing Ghana’s debt.
Bentil in an interview with TV3 explained two reasons that the revised Agyapa Royalties deal that government plans to resubmit to Parliament is not a solution to Ghana’s rising debts.
He lamented among others the collateralization of mineral resources and dismissed the notion that it was a route to boost Ghana’s revenue stream.
Bentil pointed out further that the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government was interested in piling up debts without a clear repayment plan like the Mahama government.
“How did we end up in this predicament, the previous government which we all fought against for not being sufficiently prudent and managing the economy well put certain things in place.
“We had ESLA and a number of things that were taking care of certain specific debts that we had, so we had these ideas and things that came up to (you know) shore up these things,” he said.
He added that policies like the GETFund, NHIS (for health) and ESLA (for energy), were strategically put in place, yet: “this government has collateralized all of that, taken the money upfront, spent it.
“So, basically, compromised the potential of future governments to raise revenue. On top of that, we have racked debt after debt after debt and then we end up in a pandemic like COVID,” he added.
The NDC’s flagbearer in the 2020 elections, former President John Dramani Mahama, during a May 2 lecture lambasted the penchant for government to collateralize resources.
“As I said earlier, NHIS service providers are owed several months arrears and are sparingly paid for their service. This is due to the illegal diversion or misapplication of attributable funds.
“Related to this is the reckless collateralisation of various funds to satisfy current consumption needs, and worse of all is the government’s express desire to collateralise more of such funds:
“They have collateralized ESLA till 2035, they have collateralized almost GH¢10 billion of GETFUND revenue through the 7-year Daakye bond and after mortgaging all the family property, they are desirous of selling off the remaining family cutlery by collateralizing our mineral Revenue through the dubious Agyapa Deal.
He continued: “And it is expected that they are in the process of collateralising the revenues from the recently implemented E-levy.”
Mahama went on to promise a repeal of the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy) when the NDC comes to power in 2025.