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There’s hardship in Ghana, suspend debt exchange programme – Christian Council to govt

The Christian Council of Ghana has called on the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to, as a matter of urgency, suspend the domestic debt exchange programme.

Ken Ofori-Atta

In a statement, the Christian Council said it’s critical for government to abort the debt exchange programme now and resume after extensive consultation with affected individuals.

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As an advocacy group that speaks for the vulnerable in society, the Council has examined the concerns of the Individual Bond Holders Association of Ghana (IBHAG), the Pensioner Bondholders Forum, our church members and the general public and have identified lapses in the debt restructuring programme, a major one being lack of consultation with affected individuals and institutions.

“With the current economic hardships in the country and the agitations among the general public, it is in the nation’s interest for the Finance Ministry to suspend the 31st January deadline given to individuals to sign on to the program and rather propose a road map for dialogue to make the process participatory such that the outcome would be acceptable to all.”

However, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta said cancellation of the programme is not tenable.

He said it is very essential to the economic recovery of the country.

He, however, said the government can amend some of the conditions presented to the individual bondholders.

Speaking on a yet-to-be-aired episode of PM Express Business Edition, Mr Ofori-Atta promised that his outfit will deal with some of the concerns of individual bondholders and pensioners.

He told George Wiafe that, “We have a situation where our debt exchange is necessary… we have a situation where we have come out of certain formulations and we have gone ahead to discuss or the financial institutions that way to mitigate that. I think we’ve done that successfully.

“In the same way we sat with the Union pensions, and I think we are making great progress in what we do for them. In the same way in which we are looking at individual bondholders to see how we can tweak this. Would we lose a bit of what we have? I think all of us are going to. But we have to make sure that what we eventually come up with will create sustainability,” he explained.

The Ministry of Finance has set up a technical committee to further engage individual bondholders on their inclusion in the debt exchange programme.

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