Dr Theresa Mannah-Blankson, Fellow in charge of Finance and Economy Pillar at the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), has observed that the magnitude and persistence of judgment debts should be a cause for alarm even though they are inevitable in any government business.
“Judgment debt can be expected in the business of government, we cannot avoid that but it is the volume or the magnitude that we need to be concerned about and also the persistence with which we continue to deal with colossal sums of huge numbers that are being churned out,” she decried.
According to her, judgment debts cannot be avoided in the business of governments taking into consideration infrastructural deficiency this country suffers, it poses issues of worry if such huge sums were being churned out year after year to pay for judgment debts.
Dr Mannah-Blankson’s statement follows investigation which discovered that since 2017 the government has paid judgment debts totaling ¢125 million with highest Judgment debt paid in 2018 and an amount of GH¢30.9 million paid to Jubilee Tractors and Assembly Plant Limited which arose from a case filed against the National Security Council and in 2017, an amount of GH¢29.5 million was paid to NDK Financial Services.
A close comparison of the various years shows the highest amount paid since the New Patriotic Party (NPP) took over government was in 2017 when payments totaled GH¢54 million and a 2021 research published by the CSJ showed the GH¢125 million figure comes nowhere near the whopping GH¢356.6 million debt paid by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration in 2010.
So far, GH¢2.8 million in judgment debt has been paid by the government in the year 2022.
Dr Mannah-Blankson pointed out that within the context of enormous developmental challenges the economy faced, particularly healthcare, education where pupils were still taught under trees with school buildings in deplorable state and health facilities which were not adequately strengthened to take care of the population, judgment were inevitable.
“Within the framework, considering also high youth unemployment rate and high levels of poverty, it makes sense to really think about numbers that have been churned out which is a worrying trend and my expectation after we did our analysis for the 2000-2019 period was to be nipped in the bud but we are still hearing them,” she bemoaned.