Debt Forgiveness: Focusing On China A Misplaced Priority – Ricketts Hagan
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Cape Coast South Constituency in the Central Region, Kweku George Ricketts-Hagan, has described Ghana’s decision to focus on China for debt forgiveness as misplaced priority.
The Cape Coast South MP’s comments come on the back of Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta’s visit to China.
Mr Ofori-Atta left Accra for China on Sunday, 19 March 2023, as part of efforts by Ghana to secure debt forgiveness from the Asian giant to whom the West African gold producer owes $1.7 billion of its total of $5-plus billion owed the Paris Club.
Speaking on CTV’s Dwa Br3 Mu, the Cape Coast South MP, stressed that China does not write off debts but instead, will restructure it.
He also thinks government’s attention should be focused on the countries Ghana owes huge amounts, since the debt owed China is USD 1.7 billion out of the country’s total debt.
He told show host, Nana Otu Darko, that: “First of all we putting our hopes on China, it’s a misplaced priority because when you owe someone, you note it all down beginning with the highest amount. When tackling your debt, the person who can bother you the most will be the one you’re owing the highest amount. So you go to them and make arrangements.”
He indicated that: “Our [Ghana] misplaced priority, is that those we owe most are the Capital Market, we owe them about USD14billion, the Eurobond, they are the ones who can also downgrade you, they will rate you and they can hurt you.”
Mr Ricketts-Hagan, further indicated that: “The ratings can affect pretty much every money you borrow from anywhere in the world whether it’s capital market bilateral of multilateral.
“So that’s where you should be concentrated on, that is where your focus should be and your domestic market.”
According to the Cape Coast South MP, China’s debt is not the biggest of Ghana’s debts and so focusing on China is totally out of place.
“Yes, China 1.7 billion, but if you look at Africa, we aren’t the ones owing China more than other African countries so it is not the biggest of our debt so to focus on it, for me is a misplaced priority.”
“The question becomes why are they then going after China?” Mr Ricketts-Hagan quizzed. “When I sit down and make my analysis, there’s a reason they want to go to China.”