Databank Cautions Government

The Head of Research at Databank, Mr Sampson Akligoh, has cautioned the government about the country�s rising debt profile. The advice came against the backdrop of the decision by the government to go to the international market next year to raise funds for infrastructural development. �The quick rush to the international market to float another bond must not be handled as business as usual and the returns on any other bond must be enough to handle our debts in future,� Mr Akligoh said. According to Mr Akligoh, the feedback on the level of accountability of the previously floated US$1 billion Eurobond had not been properly communicated. A source at the Ministry of Finance told the Daily Graphic that the government might likely go for another US$700 million by the middle of 2014. With investors more cautious about lending to frontier countries with shaky finances following June�s violent market rout, Ghana may pay a higher premium to get the deal off the ground next year. The third foray into the bond market is part of the government�s debt management strategy that provides more cost-efficient access to international and domestic capital markets to meet its development needs. At eight per cent, the yield that Ghana is paying for its maiden Eurobond issue of US$750 million is at a level that has not been seen in the hard currency bond market for a while now. It is sharply higher than the 6.625 per cent Nigeria paid for its 10-year bonds earlier in the year. At the height of the emerging market bond buying frenzy in April, Rwanda, the central African state best known for a civil war and genocide in 1994, paid only 6.875 per cent for its maiden US$400m 10-year issue. Ghana�s credit rating has been reduced from B+ to B by Fitch, partly because of the government�s inability to fully implement its fiscal consolidation plan in 2013. But with a stable democracy, the rule of law, rapid economic growth and almost all the other tick boxes, plus oil discovery and a third appearance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Ghana has won a lot of fans lately. "This year has been challenging for the economy, leading to a slippage of the nine per cent deficit target we set for the year. So we have revised our notes and we believe 8.5 per cent is realistic for 2014," a senior government official said.