The Bank of Ghana has revealed that the country’s public debt including both domestic and external debt hit 58.4billion cedis at end of March this year.
This is a leap from the GH¢52.1 billion recorded at the end of December last year.
The new figure represents 55.4 percent of GDP.
Of the total, the domestic debt component was GH¢27.8 billion which is 47.5% of the overall total.
According to the Governor of the bank of Ghana Dr Henry Kofi Wampah provisional data on government fiscal operations indicate lower than budgeted outturns for both revenues and expenditures for the period January to May 2014.
Total revenue and grants for the review period was GH¢9 billion making up 8.5% of GDP, this is below the target of GH¢9.5 billion which is 9% of GDP.
Total tax revenue amounted to GH¢7.1 billion, lower than the estimated GH¢7.3 billion.
Non-tax revenue outturn was almost in line with projected estimates at GH¢1.8 billion, driven mainly by oil revenues.
Grant disbursements remained low at GH¢79.4 million, against an estimated GH¢393.3 million.
according to Dr Henry Kofi Wampah ‘low import volumes, declines in international gold prices and production which affected mining sector corporate taxes and mineral royalties, and the general slowdown in economic activities’ accounted for the underperformance of government revenues during the first five months of the year.
Meanwhile government expenditures including arrears clearance amounted to GH¢13.1 billion, that is 12.5% of GDP.
this is lower than the estimated GH¢13.6 billion, 12.9% of GDP for the period.
Of the total expenditures, compensation of employees amounted to GH¢4.1 billion against a target of GH¢4.4 billion.
Although compensation of employees fell short of target, it constituted about 47 percent of domestic revenues, up from 44.1 percent in the same period of 2013.
Interest payments amounted to GH¢2.8 billion, compared with a target of GH¢2.2 billion.
These fiscal developments according to the bank of Ghana resulted in a deficit of GH¢4.12 billion (3.9% of GDP), almost at par with the estimated GH¢4.1 billion (3.8% of GDP) for the period.
In the corresponding period of 2013, the fiscal deficit was GH¢3.8 billion (4% of GDP).
The budget deficit was largely financed from domestic sources, with Net Domestic Financing of GH¢3.2 billion, against an estimated GH¢3.0 billion.
By: Vivian Kai Mensah/citifmonline.com/Ghana