Factors that occasioned downgrade of Ghana’s economy being felt – Terkper

Seth Terkper,

Former Finance Minister under the Mahama administration, Mr Seth Terkper has said that Ghanaians are already bearing the brunt of what caused the downgrade of the economy by S&P credit rating agency.

Fuel prices are increasing, transport fares and cost of food items are also going up, the general condition of living is increasing, Mr Terkper said.

Reacting to the downgrade by S&P on the Ghana Tonight Show with Alfred Ocansey on TV3 Tuesday August 9, Mr said “The reason why whoever is watching has to care is that we are already seeing the effects of the downgrades. Much of what we are complaining about suggest unavailability of fiscal space that is budget resources.

“The subsidy that should have cushioned fuel prices at the pump, the inflation which is highest in 30 years and which I believe everybody who goes to the market is facing either higher prices or the downsizing of kenkey and other products.

“The frequent increase in transport fares for students who are going to school, adults who have to buy fuel to go to work.”

S&P decided to push Ghana’s debt further into speculative territory, lowering its foreign and local currency sovereign ratings to CCC+/C from B-/B, on Friday August 5.

It said its outlook for the country is negative, “reflecting Ghana’s limited commercial financing options, and constrained external and fiscal buffers.”

The Covid-19 pandemic and the conflict in Russia have magnified Ghana’s fiscal and external imbalances, S&P said.

Demand for foreign currency has been driven higher by several factors, including nonresident outflows from domestic government bond markets, dividend payments to foreign investors and higher costs for refined petroleum products, the agency said.

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The Government of Ghana has however said it is disappointed by S&P’s decision to downgrade Ghana because bold policies have been implemented in 2022 to address macro fiscal challenges and debt sustainability which have been significantly exacerbated by the impact of these global external shocks on the economy.

The government said it will continue to be proactive in addressing the impact of these external and domestic headwinds on the economy and on the lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians.

The Ministry of Finance said ” On 5th August 2022, Standard and Poor’s (“S&P”) Global Ratings downgraded Ghana’s foreign and local currency credit ratings from ‘B-/B’ To ‘CCC+/C’ with a negative outlook. According to S&P, the downgrade is due to intensifying financing and external pressures on the economy.

“In arriving at their decision, the credit rating agency considered: (a) the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the severe global shock of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Ghana and the consequent fiscal and external imbalances; (b) elevated gross financing needs in the face of International Capital Market hiatus (c) the limited commercial financing options; and (d) the credible steps taken by Government to fast-track fiscal consolidation and the passage of key revenue bills.

“The Government is disappointed by S&P’s decision to downgrade Ghana despite the bold policies implemented in 2022 to address macro fiscal challenges and debt sustainability which have been significantly exacerbated by the impact of these global external shocks on the economy.

“Government will continue to be proactive in addressing the impact of these external and domestic headwinds on the economy and on the lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians. Government has implemented key revenue and expenditure measures, including the 30% cut in discretionary expenditures. The delays in the passage of key revenue measures introduced in the 2022 Budget affected revenues performance in the first half of the year. However, all the revenue measures introduced in the 2022 Budget, including the review of the MDA Fees and Charges Bill, the Tax Exemption Bill, the E-Levy Bill, have all now been promulgated by Parliament. These fiscal measures are now in full implementation mode to support our fiscal and debt sustainability policies.”

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It added “The Government is committed and is confident that it will successfully emerge from these challenges in the shortest possible time as we have demonstrated the track record to do so in the Akufo-Addo led Government. Our current engagement with the International Monetary Fund for a Programme, incorporating our Enhanced Domestic Program (EDP), is expected to support our drive to restore and sustain macroeconomic stability; debt sustainability and promote growth and job creation whilst ensuring social protection to achieve our vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana