Ghana’s 2016 Debt Servicing: Gabby Otchere-Darko’s figures false, Kwakye Ofosu’s misleading

On Saturday, July 2, 2022, a day after the government announced its intention to engage the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an economic recovery programme, Felix Kwakye Ofosu of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Gabby Otchere-Darko of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) were on Joy FM’s Newsfile programme to discuss the decision.

While touting the economic records of the John Mahama-led NDC administration, Felix Kwakye Ofosu said the administration had allocated about GH₵10.6 billion for the payment of loans contracted by the government of Ghana.

But Gabby Otchere-Darko disagreed and said the NDC had rather made arrangement for GH₵ 18 billion for debt servicing.

Fact-Check Ghana has verified the claims both Felix Kwakye Ofosu and Gabby Otchere-Darko made and presents the facts below.

Claim 1: “When we left power, our debt to GDP ratio was 57 per cent. We had total debt of 120 billion. Indeed, the highest amount we spent servicing debt was 10.6 billion Ghana cedis in 2016.,” Felix Kwakye Ofosu said.

Verdict: Misleading

Explanation: While the estimated interest payment is the projection by the government at the beginning of the financial year, the actual interest payment is what is spent on the payment of loans at the end of the financial year. In November 2015, when the annual budget was read by the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, it was estimated that it would cost the state GH₵10.5 billion cedis to service debts the state owed.

However, by the end of the 2016 financial year, the actual interest paid for the year rose above that figure.

The 2017 mid-year budget review by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, on July 31,2017 stated that the actual interest payment by the government of Ghana in 2016 was GH₵ 11.5 billion.

So instead mentioning the actual figure of GHS11.5 billion, Felix Kwakye Ofosu used the estimate of GH₵10.5 billion contained in the 2016 budget, which was presented in November 2015.


Appendix Table 2A: Summary of Central Government Operations – 2016. Source: pg 44,, 2017 mid-year budget review by the Minister of Finance.

Putting up a feisty defence, Gabby Otchere-Darko said the NDC government had allocated about GH₵ 18 billion for the payment of the country’s debt.

Claim 2: “You have seen more money going into roads and debt servicing. I have heard Felix say that when they left Office, it was 10 billion. It was not 10 billion. [In] 2016, it was 18 billion [cedis],” Mr Otchere-Darko said.

Verdict: False

Gabby Otchere-Darko’s figure was not contained in the 2016 annual budget of the finance minister nor the 2017 mid-year budget review in July, 31, 2017. As can be referenced in the table above, the finance minister of his party’s administration mentioned GH₵ 11.5 billion, and not the GHS18 billion he claimed on Newsfile.


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