The Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Finance has argued the need for Rating Agencies to reconsider any ratings action during global pandemics such as COVID-19.
This follows the downgrading of Ghana’s ratings, by S&P Global Ratings, to B- though revised its outlook to stable. This largely attributed to the impact of coronavirus outbreak on the country’s fiscal strength as the sovereign debt continues growing to more than 70 percent of GDP in 2020.
In a statement, the Ministry said, “We therefore call on Rating Agencies to seriously consider freezing any rating actions during global pandemics such as COVID-19. It is very unfortunate that rating agencies will choose to downgrade our countries in these unprecedented times.”
Ghana spends 50 percent of its budget revenue on coupon payments. However, the outlook represents S&P’s optimistic forecast on the country’s improvement potential.
S&P Global Ratings also noted the significant positive developments in the areas of current account position, external reserve build-up and the unparalleled stability witnessed in interest and exchange rates.
The Ministry indicates that compared to Ghana’s peers, the GDP growth is still positive, despite the global crisis.
“Going forward, we expect that with the gradual easing of restrictions, the economy will swiftly rebound and all the one-off expenditures eliminated. We have a clear path towards the restoration of economic stability in the short to medium term. We will sustain our progress and accelerate this through the GHS 100 Billion Ghana CARES transformation programme within the general policy framework of Ghana Beyond Aid and certainly beyond the pandemic,” the Ministry said.
A review of global credit ratings indicates that lowering of sovereign credit ratings have affected more than 80 countries and there has been more than 100 negative outlook revisions for this year. Most of these credit rating downgrades and negative outlook revisions are heavily concentrated on the countries who previously were at B/B2 credit ratings. These adverse rating actions have touched almost all continents as rating agencies react to the effects of the pandemic on the global economy.