Latest data put out by the Bank of Ghana puts Ghana’s total public debt stock, as of November 2021, at US$ 58.2 billion or GH¢344.5 billion.
In Cedi terms, the total debt stock increased marginally from GH¢341.8 billion in September by about GH¢3 billion to the GH¢344.5 recorded in November.
In Dollar terms however the debt stayed unchanged at US$58.2 in September and in November.
The November 2021 debt figure of GH¢344.5 brings Ghana’s debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio to 78.4%, pushing the debt-to GDP ratio into uncharted territory.
The new debt figure represents an accumulation of about GH¢ 53 billion within the first 11 months of 2021, following the GH¢ 299.1 billion recorded at the end of 2020.
A look at the data from the Central Bank shows that year-on-year, from November 2020 to November 2021, the debt stock rose by about 20% from GH¢287.1 billion to GH¢344.5.
A further breakdown of the debt numbers shows that the component of debt secured locally rose marginally by GH¢1.3 billion from GH¢178.1 billion in September to GH¢ 179.4 billion in November, which represents 40.8% of the projected GDP for 2021.
The external component of the debt, stayed at US$27.9 billion in September and November 2021, but increased in Cedi terms from GH¢163.7 billion to GH¢165.1 billion. The surge in the debt in Cedi terms came largely from the bout 1% depreciation of the cedi against the dollar from September to November 2021.
The rise in public debt has led to concerns about debt sustainability and the ability of the country to access the International Capital Market for more support.
Ratings agency Fitch recently downgraded Ghana to B negative, with a negative outlook, following a pandemic-related surge in government debt, and uncertainty about the government’s ability to stabilise debt against a backdrop of tightening global financing conditions.