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DDEP: Pensioners who did not participate exempted

Finance Minister, Honorable Kenneth Yaw Ofori-Atta, has said all pensioners who did not participate in government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) are exempted.

According to him, picketing of the pensioners at the Finance Ministry caused him great distress, further indicating that he has met with the group three consecutive times to explain to them the terms of the new bonds.

“I subsequently wrote to their convener to let him know that all pensioners who did not participate in the bond offerings are exempt. Government is committed to the wellbeing of our senior citizens and pensioners. The government will honor their coupon payments and maturing principals” Ofori-Atta.

The meeting with Parliament was called after Sophia Akuffo, Former Chief Justice, who was part of the picketing pensioners, said that she was getting suspicious when Ofori-Atta listened to the concerns of others and responded to their letters regarding the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) but failed to respond to pensioners who had written to him to be excluded from the debt exchange programme.

“A simple letter was written by the forum to the Minister of Finance that; exempt us from your programme. That is the gist. I always like to distil things to their lowest common denominator. Exempt us, we are pensioners! I have seen a copy of the letter, it has been dated 7th January.

“Up till now, there has not been a note of acknowledgement and just a few days past, similar letters that were written to the Minister have been responded to whereby he has categorically exempted other groups. Why? When I cannot fathom the reasons for something being done in a particular way, especially, when it has been done for others but not being done to some others, I start getting suspicious. I have grown to the age where I have seen it all.”

Meanwhile, John Jinapor, MP for Yapei Kusawgu asked that government passes a resolution to compel the exclusion of pensioners from the DDEP.

“Let us pass a resolution compelling the Minister of Finance that all the pensioners will be exempted from this Exchange…All bondholders’ coupon rates, principal and the terms of the original agreement should stand”.

Progress on the programme provided by the Ministry of Finance in a press release report revealed that government has secured 80 per cent participation as part of its key steps to reaching board level approval with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The Government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) closed on Friday 10th February 2023…The Government wants to thank the people of Ghana for their forbearance and support throughout these very difficult times.

“The DDEP is being done to help protect the economy and enhance our capacity to service our public debts effectively. The alternative of not executing the DDEP would have brought grave disorder in the servicing of our national debt and exacerbated the current economic crisis” part of the statement read.

Ofori-Atta calls for support

The Finance Minister, pleaded with the Members of Parliament (MPs) present during his presentation at the Parliament House at the pensioners picket to support in getting the board approval of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to revive the economy.

“The IMF deal with help Ghana recover quickly from the economic challenges… We will recover from this crisis soon rather than later as indicated by President Akufo-Addo. I will urge Members of Parliament to support the government to secure the board approval for macro stability.”

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