The move to re-profile the country’s debt has saved the nation GH¢612million, Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, has said.
“Our potential savings on domestic interest cost and therefore the creation of fiscal space currently stands at GH¢612million. Part of the solution is in re-profiling our debt to reduce the risk in our debt portfolio and give us space to operate and we have begun that process. We shall continue,” Mr. Ofori-Atta, said at the maiden National Policy Summit, in Accra.
Government’s target for domestic interest payment in the 2017 budget is GH¢11.23billion, but after the debt re-profiling, government is now expecting to pay GH¢10.6billion.
Government recently raised US$2.2 billion from a sale of long-dated domestic bonds, to among other things, boost the Central Bank’s reserves by a third.
The bond resulted in the lengthening of the maturity profile of the instruments available on the domestic market.
The finance minister stated that the benefit of such issuance will not only be felt in the short-term, but in the long term as well.
“what we did was not raise the debt to increase our stock but to take out short term debt. So gross debt increases but the net remains the same and no impact on increasing debt stress and that one transaction leads to a savings of GHc612million,” he added.
He explained that the issuance has also extended the nation’s yield curve, which is a positive attraction for investors.
“91-day Treasury Bills, which was about 20percent for a larger part of 2016, is at 14.2percent and 15 year at 19.75percent, as at the end of April, 2017. The currency has also stabilised, which leads to macroeconomic stability.
This has also built up on gross reserves from US$4.5billion in March to US$6.6billion in April and strengthens the currency. It also reduces the work of speculators who play a role in putting pressure on the currency,” he said.
“What have we done? We have just shown a lot of confidence and competence and even though we are in the B ratings category and our matrix are not as good as others, there is a new spirit that Ghana can do it again and we pray that if we do the work we are supposed to do we will have a positive outlook by year end,” he added.
Source: Bernard Yaw Ashiadey/thebftonline.com/Ghana