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Majority group oppose Ofori-Atta’s haircut

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta appears to have incurred the wrath of the Majority in Parliament who feel disrespected over recent decisions taken over the domestic debt exchange program.

Leaders of the Majority are seething in anger over the continuous disrespect shown towards them by the Finance Minister who without recourse to current happenings in the legislature, refused to consult them before rolling out the domestic debt exchange program.

Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who is against the program, is warning of the possibility of wiping out the middle class and want the Minister to hasten slowly.

“What we [are] talking about is that many of these bondholders also belong to the middle class and that’s where the major worry is. If we are wiping away the middle class, that could be dangerous, so we need to have some further dialogue on this.

“Government thinks that this is the best way forward, however, even if it is, we need to engage, reflect and then move on and that will encourage some people who have some doubt to better appreciate where we are.”

“Nothing can substitute for discussions, round table discussions and engagements wherever we find ourselves in. I think it’s important that we go back to the drawing table to have engagements with the major stakeholders…All of us are in it. And if we don’t manage it well, we’ve gone through this before, way back some 25, 30 years ago and repositioning was a major, major difficulty.

“Today many people are coming on board and if this thing should happen, how do we build confidence and trust and reconstruct a new savings culture?”

Majority Chief Whip and lawmaker for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, Frank Annoh-Dompreh is also warning of dire consequences if the Finance Minister continues to be impervious to advise and tread on that slippery slope.

In a tweet, the Majority Chip Whip described the decision by Ken Ofori-Atta as “unfair” and “untenable” adding that he disagrees with the inclusion of individual bondholders in the debt exchange programme.

Meanwhile, Some individual bondholders that have mobilized themselves in opposition to the Domestic Debt Exchange (DDE) programme proposed by Government has hinted of a demonstration, dubbed ‘Occupy Jubilee House’.

The members who are in excess of 101, 100 have kicked against the programme in its entirety even though they are open to discussion with Government on the way forward.

Desperate to meet the requirements for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout which entails the country having a sustainable debt profile, Government led by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has proposed a debt restructuring programme. This will alter the contracts the Government entered in to with bondholders in terms of the interest and maturity of their bonds. Holders of domestic bonds are resolute that they do not want their bonds touched.

To drum home their demands, they have proposed a demonstration. Even though they have made their point clear in the media and through their record-breaking mobilization, they intend taking their protest a notch higher.

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