By Landing Ceesay
The Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Hon. Seedy Keita told parliamentarians that the country’s 2022-debt servicing stood at D2.64 billion.
“The total debt servicing for the first 7 months of the year stood at D2.64 billion, of which interest payments amount to D1.6 billion, while the principal pre-payments stood at D1.04 billion,” he said.
Asked about the recovery plan of the debt servicing, the Finance Minister said every debt contracted has a payment plan referred to as “debt sustainability assessment” which is a policy.
Hon. Keita said the government has a debt sustainability framework that ensures the debt burden of the country does not reach a level that the country would not be able to assess its debt servicing.
“This is an important pillar of any International donor programme like the IMF, to ensure that the debt burden is within and periodically, every six months or so, an assessment is done on debt sustainability to ensure that our debt level is within manageable limits,” he said.
Hon. Keita further told the members that they would occasionally re-profile the debt to reduce the overall debt burden, which is an ongoing exercise because there is a debt programme.
He said there is a debt directorate within the Ministry of Finance that looks at the entire debt portfolio, and as interest rate moves, they may re-profile the debt, so that the overall debt burden would go down.
“We are also looking at debt restructuring with some of the partners. We benefit from debt forgiveness, times all of these are factored in the framework. Of course, at any one time, we are ensuring that the debt level is not beyond servicing,” Finance Minister said.
The Finance Minister made these remarks on Wednesday during an oral question and answer session at Parliament on the subject.