The government has extended the Debt Exchange Programme for the third time to Tuesday, January 31, 2023 to enable it to build consensus for the programme.
Initially, government decided to extend the Expiration Date of the voluntary offer to Friday December 30, 2022, with a contemplated settlement date on Friday January 6, 2023.
The government extended the deadline to today Monday, January 16, 2023.
The latest extension to end of January, according to the government is to allow the bondholders to voluntarily exchange their bonds for new ones.
It is however unclear the number of institutions or individuals who have signed onto the programme which has been rejected by several groups.
In the government’s quest to address the country’s ongoing economic challenges, it launched the programme to invite holders of bonds to voluntarily exchange approximately GH¢137 billion domestic notes and bonds of the Republic including ESLA and Daakye for a package of new bonds.
The domestic debt exchange programme since its announcement has faced huge opposition from labour groups which managed to get pension funds exempted.
Other groups including the Individual Bondholders Association have also rejected the programme but their concerns is currently unsettled.
The extension comes after the Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu called for further engagement in other to satisfy curiosity and affected persons.
He fears that the Programme could wipe out the middle class which he pointed out that it is dangerous.
The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs said these while speaking with a group of individual bondholders led by convener, Senyo Hosi and private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu when they submitted a petition to exclude individual bondholders from the debt exchange to him.
“What we [are] talking about is that many of these bondholders also belong to the middle class and that’s where the major worry is. If we are wiping away the middle class, that could be dangerous, so we need to have some further dialogue on this.
“Government thinks that this is the best way forward, however, even if it is, we need to engage, reflect and then move on and that will encourage some people who have some doubt to better appreciate where we are,” said.
The Suame lawmaker continue that “Nothing can substitute for discussions, round table discussions and engagements wherever we find ourselves in. I think it’s important that we go back to the drawing table to have engagements with the major stakeholders…All of us are in it. And if we don’t manage it well, we’ve gone through this before, way back some 25, 30 years ago and repositioning was a major, major difficulty.
“Today many people are coming on board and if this thing should happen, how do we build confidence and trust and reconstruct a new savings culture?”
Another lawmaker, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Nsawam Adoagyiri, Frank Annoh-Dompreh asked the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to review the decision to include individual bondholders in the programme.
He described the inclusion of the individual bondholders as unfair and untenable.
“The Finance Minister (Ministry) must as a matter of urgency review as soon as possible its decision and resolution on individual bond holders. I don’t agree with them and I think it’s unfair and untenable! Review your decision now,” the Majority Chief Whip tweeted.
By Vincent Kubi