$50bn Century bond Is a Baseless Move – Adongo
Isaac Adongo, Bolgatanga Central MP, has described considerations by the government to float a $50billion century-long bond as visionless.
According to him, the intended purpose of the loan, which he said, was to embark on infrastructural projects, will not be beneficial to future generations.
To that end, he said, the bond is indicative of a government that lacks foresight into what future generations will need.
Speaking to President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China during his state visit, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said: “The Ministry of Finance and the economists in Ghana are looking at floating a $50 billion Century Bond”.
“This will provide us with the resources to finance our infrastructural and industrial development. We are hoping that, at some stage, China will interest itself, and take a part of it as China’s contribution to Ghana’s development”, the president said.
According to him, the centenary bond will be one of government’s means of securing long-term financial sources that “will allow us to deal with our infrastructural development, and also realise the vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid.”
However, Mr Adongo told Ghana Yensom on Accra 100.5FM hosted by Chief Jerry Forson on Tuesday, 4 September that: “This government is as visionless as a child, otherwise, how can you go for such a loan without a blueprint telling the people of Ghana what went into that loan.
“What are you going to do with the $50 billion? You can only mention that you want to use it for infrastructure, but in 100 years’ time, nobody will need the things that you want to develop today, so, why take a loan for 100 years.”
He added: “I thought the NPP said they were not going to borrow when they come into office but what are we seeing now? Plunging the country into massive debt is what they are doing at the moment.”
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Reacting to Mr Adongo’s comment on the same show, Member of Parliament for Bantama, Daniel Okyem Aboagye, said: “If there is any visionless government that ever governed Ghanaians, then we should turn our eyes to the John Mahama administration. The Mahama-led government was rather the visionless government considering all the money that came into the hands of his government but with very little to show for it.
“Loans will benefit the people or not depending on which government is in place. Unlike the Mahama administration that wasted Ghana’s money through corruption, a visionary leader like President Akufo-Addo will use the loan to benefit all Ghanaians.”
He added: “This $50billion bond we are talking about, if successful, will yield results most Ghanaians will be satisfied with. In 10 years, Ghana will be a developed country.
“Government has already rolled out programmes including the free Senior High School and part of this bond will be used in strengthening the programme and also create industries for our children to work. Development of the country will be at the centre of this bond.”
Meanwhile, information Minister-designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said no firm decision has been taken yet by the government on the proposed $50 billion centenary bond.
In response to the criticisms and concerns raised, Mr Oppong Nkrumah told Class91.3FM’s 505 news analysis programme hosted by Valentina Ofori Afriyie that no firm decision has been taken on the centenary bond.
He said: “At this stage, we are at the consideration stage, we are raising a number of questions to do some analysis. For example, is a centenary bond a good idea? If it is, how much can our economy afford? What will be the repayment schedule for example? What are the implications on debt sustainability? We have to go through a series of processes to arrive at a position, and then that position will be announced.
“The president has just signed eight MoUs and supervised two other contracts, those are the big things we can speak concretely to today. If he additionally mentioned that we are looking at the possibility of this in the future and if it happens we encouraged the Chinese to come on board, I don’t think we can reduce that to a full conversion now and say that government has decided to issue a $50bn bond and, therefore, what does the Minority think of it? No.
“I feel that we have to report accurately what has happened so that all of us, in terms of our analysis, can do our analysis fully. So at this stage, we are considering a centenary bond, that centenary bond could come in a particular ticket size. The consideration at this stage is to examine all the things that are associated with it; how have other countries done it; what is the ticket size; what is the implication on debt sustainability; could there be a possible moratorium? Etc., but those are not the big issues of today, those are just things government is thinking about.”