The Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has revealed that the country’s debt has increased to GHC170.8 billion.

Presenting the 2019 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government, Mr Ofori Atta said: “Mr. Speaker, the nominal public debt stock as of the end of September 2018 was GHS170.8 billion, comprising external and domestic debt of GHS86.6 billion and GHS84.1 billion, respectively.”

The Finance Minister further revealed that the public debt (including financial sector bailout) as a percentage of GDP stood at 70.7 percent at the end of September 2018 compared with 69.2 per cent during the same period in 2017.

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“The public debt stock (excluding the financial sector clean-up cost) as a ratio of GDP is 66.5 per cent. In terms of the re-based GDP, the public debt-to-GDP ratio is 57.2 per cent (including financial sector clean-up cost) and 53.9 per cent (excluding clean-up cost).”

The Finance Minister added that the over 200,000 jobs were created by the private sector in the first 10 months of 2018 due to prudent policies implemented by the government.

“Mr Speaker, our policies have improved the business environment and the private sector has responded by increasing jobs. Based on SSNIT data, the private sector added 208,620 formal jobs in the first 10 months of 2018, an increase on the 197,000 formal jobs registered in 2017. We have resourced the Ghana Statistical Service and the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to develop a more robust system to track employment on a quarterly basis.”

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“Over the period 2017 and 2018, the Ministry of Finance granted financial clearance to various agencies to recruit 88,719 Ghanaians into critical sectors of agriculture, health, and education to enable us to improve service delivery.

“In addition, the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo), a three-year transitional job opportunity for young graduates has enrolled 100,000 young graduates to support the delivery of critical public services,” he stated.