Ghana’s public debt stock is now GHS159.4 billion as of 30 August 2018, according to the Bank of Ghana’s September summary of Economic and Financial data.
Per the data, the debt stock rose by GHS5.1 billion between May 2018 and August 2018. Domestic debt accounted for GHS73.8 billion of the total debt stock, representing 30.6 per cent of the Ghanaian economy’s total value.
Loans taken by the government from outside the country totaled $18.2 billion (GHS 85.5 billion) of the total debt, representing 35.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Impact on GDP
According to the fiscal data, the provisional debt stock of GH¢154 billion would translate into 63.7, per cent of GDP at the end of May 2018 compared to 66.8 per cent for the same period in May 2017.
From the data, it is clear that there has been some reduction in terms of the Debt-to-GDP.
For instance, as at the end of December 2017, the Debt-to-GDP was 69.8 per cent. This should mean the country is making some progress in moving away from the dreaded 70 per cent mark, which could result in the country being tagged as highly “Debt distress Country” or having challenges in paying our debt back on time.
However, some economists have also argued that the country is witnessing some improvement in the Debt-to-GDP ratio because the economy is expanding.
It is not clear for now what might have caused this spike, but persons with knowledge of the debt numbers are attributing it to the cedi’s depreciation and some fresh borrowings by the government.
In the banking sector, the data showed that total assets of banks stood at 106 billion cedis as at August.
Compared to the same period in 2017, the total assets of the banking sector was 86 billion cedis. Meanwhile, Non-Performing Loans, which is credit gone bad was at 21.3 percent as at August.
In the same period in 2017 the NPL was at 21.9 percent showing a drop on year to year basis.