The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference expressed the expectation that, in the face of the current economic turbulence the nation is experiencing, debt relief and deferment when practical, would go a long way to lessen the damage it has had on stakeholders.
The Bishops Conference recently posited that the proposed domestic debt restructuring program would be too damaging due to its extensive impacts on the financial industry, specifically on banks and insurance companies, as well as its ripple effects on private holders of government securities, which were formerly thought to be the safest assets.
“We urge government to vigorously pursue some debt forgiveness and/or deferment, where feasible so that if at all, the domestic debt restructuring burden could be reduced drastically and its impact on stakeholders minimized.
To win the international community over in pursuit of this, government must present a posture that is consistent with the fact that the country is in dire straits or crisis.”
While the Bishops’ Conference was frank in its recommendations, it also stated that the government has taken various steps to address the situation, some of which included reviewing the Free SHS and drastically reducing government spending.
“Certainly not limited to avoiding the reported expected expenditure overruns in the 2023 Budget; drastic government expenditure control by reducing the number of government appointees; suspending non-essential projects; and a review of the free SHS policy.
While the Conference was urging the government to take practical steps, it maintained that strong opposition to debt restructuring from domestic resources to meet the IMF bailout conditions was a natural response from those directly or indirectly affected but could negatively impact the entire process and urged for support from citizens to see to fruition of government’s efforts.
“While we expect government to consider these suggestions, we humbly appeal to Ghanaians to appreciate the current economic situation and understand that there will be difficulties in the coming months while the problem is solved permanently.
We hope that these will help in no small way to alleviate the pressure on domestic revenue generation challenges with the IMF bailout condition, if it has to be continued
We trust that with goodwill, transparency and commitment to the common good, and all Ghanaians coming together, we shall overcome this crisis with the help of God.”