An international conference on Ghana's multi-million sterling foreign debts was urged in London today (July 7) to consider a new deal on repayment terms which the country could afford.
CU Mensah (use silent)
SV Mensah with interviewer (use silent)
CU Mensah SOF
GV Marlborough House
CU Sign"Marlborough House"
SCU Mensah talks to Smedley of the Foreign Office
CU Pan Mensah to Smedley
SCU Wilmot (Min of Ext. Affairs - Ghana) talks to Mr. Barder (UK)
SCU Mr. Gaechter of Switzerland and H. Hara (Japan) and T. Endo (Japan)
CU Mr. Gaechter
CU Mr. Hara
CU Mr. J. Botchway (Back of Ghana)
CU Mrs. K. Moevus (France)
SV Botchway and Moevus
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 3: MENSAH: The debt burden is not something that one can over-estimate or underestimate - it's fact how much one has to pay. In the next ten years we have to pay something like 288 million new Cedis to our creditors in respect of these debts. That fact is a simple fact and there cannot be any two ways about it. What is at issue is whether or not the economy can generate the funds to repay it, and when you try to make up your mind on this matter, you have a moral choice: a choice of values. At present we think that when we have 30 million new Cedis to spend....
REPORTER: That's about 15 million pounds (sterling).
MENSAH: Yes...where's the most important place to spend this money? We think it is intolerable that people cannot buy rice in Accra. We think it is not acceptable that there is a new civilian regime replacing a rather dictatorial regime that everybody disliked, and yet all that they get in exchange for this political change is economic stagnation, therefore it is a high priority to spend what money is available in producing some change in the countryside.
REPORTER: What's going to happen if you can't get the debt rescheduled?
MENSAH: I don't think that that is an eventuality that we are likely to encounter. The creditor countries have shown themselves willing to discuss arrangements which would fit in.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: An international conference on Ghana's multi-million sterling foreign debts was urged in London today (July 7) to consider a new deal on repayment terms which the country could afford.
Ghana's case for fresh relief in the capital and interest payments was put by Finance Minister, Mr. Joseph Mensah, to Government representatives of 14 creditor nations at the opening session of the conference.
The meeting is concentrating on Ghana's medium term debts to overseas private contractors for projects launched by the regime of former President Kwame Nkrumah, who was ousted in 1966 by a military coup.
Officials estimate these liabilities amount to between 130 and 150 million sterling, with Britain the biggest creditor.
In an interview before the conference began, Mr. Mensah told a reporter his country's view on their economic problem. He said:
Mr. Mensah heads a ten-man delegation of financial and economic experts. Conference sources believe that Mr. Mensah and his delegation will meet resistance, particularly from Britain in their plea for extended repayment time.
The conference, which is expected to last for a week, is presided over by Lord Lothian, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary. It is also attended by delegates from Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, France West Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Holland, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the United States as well as representatives of the World Bank and the Bank for reconstructions and Development.