Members of the Pensioners Bondholders Forum have welcomed their exemption from the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme as announced by the Minister for Finance Ken Ofori-Atta in Parliament.
Speaking to the Media in Parliament, the Convener, Dr. Adu Antwi, said all that the forum was looking for, was for the Minister of Finance to exempt them from the programme.
READ ALSO: Pensioners who didn’t participate in DDEP exempted – Ofori-Atta
He said the pursuit of this cause had given him sleepless nights and had posed a challenge to their health.
"... that is all that we are waiting for, I started this fight five weeks ago and we are happy it's over and we thank God and the Press for the wonderful support they have given to our course..
No more picketing, I told the Minister for five weeks I haven't even had 4 hours of sleep in the night, please use this word exempt so that I can go and rest. Me too I have to take care of my health. I'm happy this is finally over."
This comes after Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta confirmed.that all pensioners who declined to submit 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 on Thursday, February 16, 2023, Ofori-Atta urged the pensioner bondholders not to be troubled as all their coupons will be honoured when they mature.
“Government remains committed to the wellbeing of our senior citizens. It has caused me great distress that a number of our pensioners have picketed at the premises of the Finance Ministry since Monday, February 6, 2023. I have already indicated in my press release dated February 14, 2023 that government will honour their coupons payments and maturing principles like all government bonds in line with government’s fiscal commitments,” he said.
“Mr Speaker, in seeking to understand the concerns of our senior citizens, I have met with them on three occasions, the recent was yesterday 15th February 2023 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 bond offering are exempted.”
Members of the Pensioner Bondholders Forum have since Monday, February 6, 2023 been picketing at the premises of the Ministry of Finance demanding a total exemption from the government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.
The group has vowed to continue picketing until the government through the Minister of Finance expressly writes to them to confirm their exemption from the Domestic Debt Exchange Pprogramme.
Government in a statement issued on Tuesday said it had secured more than the needed 80% participation in the Domestic Debt Exchange program (DDEP) as part of key steps to reach board level approval with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a $3 billion facility to restore macroeconomic stability in the country.
“The government’s DDEP closed on Friday 10th February 2023 with over 80% participation of eligible bonds” the finance ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
Government targeted 80% participation in the program to help restructure 137.3 billion Ghana cedis in bonds on the domestic market to bring its total debt, which stands at about 575.5 billion Ghana cedis to sustainable levels.