Ken Ofori-Atta

The Finance Minister says the decision to raise a $50 billion century bond is not off the table and that the government is going to work with the market to see whether they are interested in a longer tenure bond.

Ken Ofori-Atta said government may even opt for a 50-year bond, “if that is what the market calls for.”

He said, “I don’t think anything is off the table for good, because really issue is the market has told us that they are comfortable with 31’s and we have a long term restructuring things that we have to do in terms of infrastructure.”

Speaking on Bloomberg Television, Mr Ofori-Atta added, “So we have to work with the market to see whether they are interested in a longer tenure bond for us to do that but it will not be a unilateral decision, it will be a decision that makes sense for the market and we don’t need to call it century bond may be a fifty year something if that is what the market calls for.”

Ofori-Atta said that he did not expect to come back to the market in 2019 and that a 2020 bond sale would have to be timed to take into account a general election scheduled for next year.

President Akufo-Addo said in September that Ghana could issue a 100-year $50 billion bond as part of a long-term industrialisation plan, although analysts expressed doubt that Ghana had the capacity to undertake such a transaction.

On the back of that statement, Mr Ofori-Atta told Parliament during the 2019 budget that, “The decision to raise these ultra-long-term bonds is not intended to derail our debts sustainability path, but rather to enhance it.

“If we really want to uplift ourselves out of this hand-to-mouth existence and put our country Ghana on a firm trajectory of growth and prosperity, we will need to source long term affordable financing to invest in strategic infrastructure over the medium to long-term.”

“The Sovereign Century Fund shall engage on a bilateral basis to raise long term concessional financing to underwrite our other commercial infrastructure needs through GIIF, GIADEC, PPP projects and other entities as well as liability management,” he stressed.

Exiting the IMF programme

On exiting the IMF programme, Mr Ofori-Atta said “I think we really have proven over this period, the clarity of our President Akufo-Addo’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid. So the principle of going alone of being sovereign independent is very clear.”

He added, “However, we’ve had great relation these two years with the Fund and we moved back to Article 4 – a 12 months review in which they come in every six months, we’ve also established an economic policy coordinating committee in which they will sit in.

“So the sense of the IMF as a trusted Advisor is something that we will go on with, only that, there is no money at the end of the table but the rigour of review etc will continue and I think it is a healthy relationship.”

Source: Myjoyonline

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