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Debt Exchange: We don’t want to miss the deadline – Finance Minister

Finance Minister

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has said that the government does not want to miss the deadline for the Domestic Debt Exchange programme.

On Monday, January 16, the government yet again extended the deadline for the Programme.

This made it the third extension following agitations among individual bondholders to sign on to the Programme.

The decision was to allow the government to further engage with these bondholders.

The government had initially extended subscription to the Programme from Friday, December 30, 2022 to Monday, January 16, picking the following day as Announcement Date.

Per that schedule, Tuesday, January 24 was slated for settlement of invitations.

However, on Monday, January 16, government announced yet again that the new deadline will be Tuesday, January 31.

On Wednesday, January 18, a joint technical committee constituted by Mr 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, Mr Ofori-Atta indicated that the Programme is not mandatory and remains voluntary.

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

He said “I think the clarity for all of us is that it is a voluntary programme. We have anticipated maybe getting up to 80 per cent which will still put us under the parameter, so we are asking everybody to really join.

“The Forum reiterated their concerns which are legitimate concerns for all individuals and for the country at large. In the same way, in which we met members of the Pensions group, we set up a technical committee and they will be meeting immediately [Thursday, January 19], we don’t want to miss the deadline that we have set. We are confident that we will get there.

“The clarity for all of us is that it is a voluntary programme, we have anticipated getting up to 80 per cent which will still put us in the parameter so we are asking everybody to join.

“The government continues to be a government that cares for people, lives and livelihoods as we saw in Covid, we protected and going forward too we will protect but also ensure the Community of the Republic crosses the Jordan safely, that is the challenge we have.”

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

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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