borrowing and the response of the President at the time was, yes, we would continue to borrow to the extent that we would not use the loans to eat khebab or drink beer. That was the response of the President and the chicken are coming home to roost.
Mr Speaker, so, when I hear Hon Colleagues take the current government to cleaners as if this was the effect of what was done yesterday, clearly, it is untenable.
I am happy that today, all of us realise that we should be cautious and not rush to approve loans that come before us. Let us further interrogate it. Mr Speaker, it is the reason I have insisted that the House should have a Committee on Economy. We do not have a Committee on Economy or Economic Planning.
Let them do the fiscal analysis to us on each borrowing that comes to this House, then we would be able to tell the net effect of it then, it would tell us whether or not we should approve of that loan.
Mr Speaker, people should not just rush to condemn. We should know where this is coming from and when we get to know that, the four of the fingers that we would be pointing would be pointing on our chests because, we started it and Parliament was not strong enough to confront the Executive.
Let us tarry a while and interrogate this further. We did not do that and we surrendered. We capitulated to the whims and caprices of the Executive and today, we say that, we are paying so much in interests. It is the product of the endeavours of yesterday.
Mr Speaker, the value of the cedi has not been static since 1993. So, it is easy when we talk about the quantum of borrowing to refer to figures.
Mr Speaker, but as we all do know, any student of Economics would know that no thanks to inflation, no thanks to depreciation. Percentage increase reflects the better trend in what we do to ourselves as a nation. It is easy to say that in the year 2009 when the NPP exited, the public debt was GH¢ 9.5 billion. At the time the NDC exited, the debt stock had escalated to GH¢122 billion. How much is it in percentage terms?
Mr Speaker, the amount that was piled on, translates to about GH¢ 112.5 billion. That in percentage terms is about 1,200 percentage increase of the debt stock that the NDC left. That tells us that every year, on the average, they increased the debt stock by 150 per cent.
So today, if they say that a go- vernment has increased it by 13 per cent and they want to malign that government, they should realise that during their time, every year, they increase it on the average by 150 per cent. Do they see where we are? [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, that is the difficulty that as a country we should confront.
My Hon Colleague, Hon Abgodza, asked what we used it for? Hon Fifi Kwetey said that we should spend much more on the development of infras- tructure. I agree with him to some extent.
Mr Speaker, but the Constitution, in article 34 (2), tells us where we should really spend our moneys. Mr Speaker, I beg to quote article 34 (2), which provides:
“The President shall report to Parliament at least once a year all the steps taken to ensure the realization of the policy objectives contained in this Chapter; and, in particular, the realization of basic human rights…”
Basic human right is the top priority as defined by this Constitution. That may not be material, but the people of this country would have their liberties. That is where the Constitution places emphasis.
The second thing that the Constitution talks about is:
“…a healthy economy, the right to work, the right to good health care and the right to education.”
Mr Speaker, so when a government comes to power and introduces free senior high school education, it may not translate into physical infrastructure; but that is the direction the Constitution, which we voted for in the year 1992, suggests to us that, we should pursue. So when people critique the endeavour of a government, they should match it against the constitutional imperatives.
Mr Speaker, an Hon Colleague of ours questioned the integrity of the figures. I do not want to debate him on that; but has the method of computation of the debt stock changed? If it has not changed and we are using the usual methods, how could anybody then stand here to question the integrity of the figures? It is worrisome.
He may say that something ought to be added to it; but as an Hon Member of Parliament, he stood to question the integrity of it. When his attention was drawn to it, he said that he rather wanted
to teach others; a student that wants to teach his lecturers. We should be careful the way we debate in this Chamber. Let us talk to the facts.
Mr Speaker, since the days of Hon J. H. Mensah and Hon J. H. Owusu Acheampong, this House had often been afflicted with voodoo economics, but we all know the standard and indeed appreciate it.
Mr Speaker, the rate at which we are growing our public debt -- as I said, I agree that we should do serious introspection. I would want us to talk to the facts. Let us not try to manufacture the facts. Let us talk to the facts as provided by the technocrats.
If one borrows and does not draw down, certainly, it does not affect the debt stock. Every student of Economics knows this. It is the reason when the government sounded that it wanted to go for a US$10 billion Chinese facility to build houses, it was never added to the debt stock until they were drawn down.
Otherwise, what was the quantum of US$10 billion at the time? We all knew that that was not how to do the computation of the debt stock until it was drawn down. Even after contracting the loan or the facility, if we do not draw down, we cannot add it to the computation of the debt stock.
Mr Speaker, again, another issue that came up was whether the debt of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) should be considered as public debt. We have had this debate in this House before, under the previous Hon Minister for Finance, Hon Seth Terkper. I beg to quote the Constitution because, article 182 defines public debt as: