The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has confirmed that all pensioners who failed to tender their old bonds for new ones under the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) have been exempted from the programme.
Addressing Parliament on the state of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme, Mr Ofori-Atta said the pensioners have nothing to worry about adding that all their coupons and principals will be honoured when maturity is due.
The Finance Minister added that he has officially written to the pensioner bondholders who did not sign onto the Programme of their exemption from the exercise.
“Mr Speaker, Government remains committed to the well-being and dignity of our Senior Citizens and Pensioners. Indeed, it has personally caused me great distress as a number of them have picketed at the premises of the Ministry of Finance since Monday, 6th February 2023. As I have already indicated in my Press Release dated 14th February 2023, Government will honour their coupon payments and maturing principals, like all Government bonds, in line with Government’s Fiscal commitments.
“Mr Speaker, in seeking to understand the concerns of our Senior Citizens, I have met with them on three occasions. The most recent was yesterday 15th February 2022, where I explained the terms of the new bonds.
“Mr Speaker, I subsequently wrote to their Convener, letting him know that all pensioners who did not participate in the exchange are exempted and therefore there will be no need for our Senior Citizens to picket at the Finance Ministry. Mr Speaker, I would like to thank all those who helped in those discussions.”
The Pensioners have been picketing over the last weeks demanding a total exemption from the government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.
The group has also stated that it will continue to picket at the Finance Ministry until the government heeds their demand by officially communicating to them that their investments have been exempted from the DDEP.
The Finance Minister in a statement to confirm the official closing of the Exchange Programme on Monday, February 13, revealed that it has successfully swapped GH₵82,994,510,128 worth of old bonds from a possible GH₵ 97,749,624,691 under the domestic debt exchange programme.
According to the government, the amount represents an 84.91% success rate exceeding its intended target of an 80 percent participation rate.
But some financial analysts have raised questions about the government’s participation rate.
Economist and Political Risk Analyst, Dr Theo Acheampong in a post raised doubts about the figures presented and further wondered if the government was being transparent with its accounting to Ghanaians.
The vice president, in charge of research at IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Bright Simons also suggested that claims by the government that it has achieved an 85 percent participation rate may not be entirely accurate.
In a lengthy article, Bright Simons stated that at best using the initial GH¢137 billion of bonds that were tradeable, the government has only achieved a 60 or 61 percent participation.