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Ghana likely to miss 2016 budget deficit target- Terkper

Dec. 28, 2016, 11:59 a.m.

Finance Minister Seth Terkper has stated that Ghana is likely to miss its budget-deficit target for 2016 due to low oil output, high  spending on elections and the energy-industry debts.

According to him, Ghana may miss the target of 5.3 percent of gross domestic product by 1.5 to 2 percentage points.

Mr. Terkper who made the announcement at press conference in Accra said  Ghana’s shortfall in 2015 was 6.3 percent of GDP.

“The higher deficit was on account of FPSO shutdowns resulting in lower crude and gas output,” he said, referring to the outage in the second quarter of an offshore oil field operated by Tullow Oil Plc.

Hr explained that setting aside extra money for the 2016 elections and the restructuring of debts accumulated by state-owned energy companies were higher than initially planned.

Earlier, the Ghana Association of Bankers said that power utilities had arrears of 2.6 billion cedis ($617 million) of loans when the government started payments.

Budget Deficit

The budget deficit exceeded 10 percent of GDP from 2012 to 2014.

The cedi weakened 1.8 percent to 4.21 per dollar on December 20, 2016, bringing its loss since January to 5.2 percent.

The yield on Ghana’s dollar bond maturing in 2023 fell one basis point to 8.345 percent.

Ghana debt stabilized at between 68 percent to 70 percent of GDP in the past three years while the government won’t draw on any funding from the central bank in 2016, in accordance with the IMF’s criteria,

Ghana’s sinking fund, created for the payment of debts, has a balance of $300 million.