Tuesday , 31 January 2023

Govt yet to engage stakeholders on debt exchange programme

Government is yet to meet some key stakeholders on its debt restructuring programme announced on Monday, December 5, 2022.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, a Deputy Finance Minister, John Ampontuah Kumah however noted that, investors such as bondholders, banks etc have already been consulted.

“I’m not sure about individual and specific groups; what I know is that, these bondholders are the first targets. They are not a defined group. As a nation, everybody is an important stakeholder. I am talking about the immediate sense of the consultation, which was more to do with the actual stakeholders who hold the bonds and will suffer the immediate impact of whatever decision government will take. Insurance, banks, pension funds managers almost all the immediate stakeholders have been consulted, but the broader picture of national influencers, I will not be able to confirm whether they have met the specific names that you have mentioned,” he told host of Eyewitness News, Umaru Sanda Amadu.

He further explained that, government is trying to achieve debt sustainability as part of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

According to him, individual bondholders and Treasury bill investors are exempted from the debt exchange programme.

Background

Ghana is at the doors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) seeking a $3 billion support program.

The country has also been shut out of the international market due to issues of creditworthiness, forcing the government to go on the route of debt restructuring to bring the monies owed to sustainable levels and meet the lending requirements of the IMF.

Beginning 2023, domestic bondholders will have to exchange their instruments for new ones as part of the debt restructuring plan dubbed the Ghana Debt Exchange programme.

Existing domestic bonds as of December 1, 2022, will be exchanged for a set of four new bonds maturing in 2027, 2029, 2032 and 2037.

The annual coupon on all of these new bonds will be set at 0% in 2023, 5% in 2024 and 10% in 2025 until maturity.

Several identifiable groups including labour unions have kicked against the move as they fear pensions in government trust would be affected.

Engage stakeholders on debt exchange programme now – Assibey-Yeboah

A former Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Mark Assibey-Yeboah, has advised government to quickly engage relevant stakeholders to gain their support for the successful implementation of the debt exchange programme.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr Assibey-Yeboah said it is important for the government to put the country first and engage key stakeholders extensively on the new debt measures.

“I don’t know the level of consultations that have gone on, but I would have expected that for an operation like this, you will engage civil society, even the judiciary, leadership of Parliament, the council of state, the opposition NDC…so I don’t know the level of engagement that has gone on but if this had been done well, we wouldn’t see opposition coming from labour unions, the Minority and the rest.

 

 

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