Who caused it? – Ghanaians troll Otchere-Darko for lamenting that 'the hassle is real'

Ghanaians have been trolling Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a leading member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), after he took to the platform to lament that the current economic hardship is overwhelming.

Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko

On his Twitter page on Saturday, August 14, 2022, the private legal practitioner, who, in the face of the ensuing economic challenges, has been christened as the defacto Prime Minister, said that the situation transcends the borders of Ghana, and that it is a global thing.

"The hassle is real. Whether global or not, it is real...," Gabby Otchere-Darko wrote.

However, his tweet did not go down well with Twitter users, including his followers, who expressed their reactions in the strongest term they could.

From people asking 'how did we get here?’ to others recounting how the economic crisis has crippled their businesses and other spheres of their lives, it has been reaction galore since Otchere-Darko’s tweet.

After insisting that the country’s economy was in the best of shape, the government made a U-turn on July 1 by admitting that it needed help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to recover from the economic mess that has bedeviled the country.

It has since commenced talks with the Bretton Woods institution and its officials came to gather information, assess the situation, among other things.

To worsen Ghana’s situation, two of the world’s top three rating agencies, Standard & Poor's (S&P) and Fitch Ratings, have downgraded the country’s economy.

Standard & Poor's (S&P) Global Ratings on Friday, August 5, pushed Ghana's debt further into speculative territory, lowering its foreign and local currency sovereign ratings to CCC+/C from B-/B. S&P.

Expatiating on the downgrade, S&P attributed it partly to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine war.

"There is also demand for foreign currency that has been driven higher by several factors, including nonresident outflows from domestic government bond markets, dividend payments to foreign investors, and higher costs for refined petroleum products.

"While these changes could improve the tax take going forward, the situation remains challenging, and over the first half of 2022, the fiscal deficit has exceeded the government's ambitious target," S&P Global Ratings explained.

Then, before the dust could settle on the S&P downgrade, which the government rejected, Fitch also released its report on Wednesday, August 10, 2022, downgrading Ghana's Long-Term Foreign-Currency (LTFC) Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to 'CCC' from 'B.

Fitch based its report on Ghana’s "prolonged lack of access to Eurobond markets, in turn leading to a significant decline in external liquidity".

It further explained: "In the absence of new external financing sources, international reserves will fall close to two months of current external payments (debits in the current account) by the end of 2022.

"Fitch estimates that Ghana faces USD2.75 billion of external debt servicing in 2022, including amortisation and interest, and USD2.8 billion in 2023. Access to external financing will remain tight, as Ghana is likely to remain locked out of Eurobond markets, which had come to be a regular source of external financing for the government.”

Interestingly, unlike the S&P’s damning report, the government has not responded to that of Fitch with as much vehemence.

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