Debt Exchange: Govt has lost trust – Gatsi

    Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta

    The people no longer trust the government to protect their investments, Dean of the University of Cape Coast Business School, Professor John Gatsi, has said.

    As part of the stakeholder engagements on the Domestic Debt Exchange programme, he asked stakeholders especially the Ministry of Finance and the sector Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to work hard to build that trust.

    “The trust is no more, we have to work assiduously to build trust along the line. The way the Ministry and the Finance Minister are behaving, it is clear that we can’t build trust anytime soon,” Prof Gatsi told Martin Asiedu Darteh on the mid-day news on TV3 Thursday, January 19.

    On Wednesday, January 18, a joint technical committee has been constituted by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to look into concerns raised by individual bondholders ahead of the rollout of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.

    This was announced by the minister following a crunch meeting with the bondholders under the umbrella body Ghana Individual Bondholders Forum (IBF) on Wednesday, January 18.

    The Forum had petitioned the Minister to be excluded from the Programme, which has been scheduled to be rolled out after Tuesday, January 31.

    They claimed they have not been adequately engaged by government in an attempt to include their bonds in the Programme.

    They accused the government of short-changing them especially as the Programme comes at a time a promise was made there will no haircuts to such investments.

    Interacting with journalists after the meeting with the individual bondholders, Finance Minister Ofori-Atta indicated that the Programme is not mandatory and remains voluntary.

    He, therefore, urged bondholders to subscribe to the Programme to help government in efforts to address the economic challenges.

    “I think the clarity for all of us is that it is a voluntary programme. We have anticipated may be getting up to 80 percent which will still put us under the parameter, so we are asking everybody to really join and may be things we may do and that’s why I believe the technical committee will do.”

    The committee is expected to begin sitting from Thursday, January 19.

    Professor Gstsi said the individual bondholders are not against the Debt Exchange programme in its entirety.

    Rather, he said, they want a programme that protects the financial markets and livelihoods.

    He said they are opposed to a debt Exchange programme that threatens to wipe out people’s investments.

    He said “Boindolhders want the debt exchange done in a manner that protects financial market and livelihood, those are the things that will be among the discussion.”

    By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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