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Suspend debt restructuring and engage stakeholders – Christian Council tells govt

The leadership of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCC) has told the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta to suspend the  Domestic Debt Exchange programme and engage further.

Having followed the on-going debates about debt restructuring in the country and after various discussions with some stakeholders on Ghana’s economy, the Council said they are convinced that the whole process needs to be suspended until broader consultations have been made.

The Council further stated that it has examined the concerns of the Individual Bondholders Association of Ghana (IBHAG), the Pensioner Bondholders Forum, church members and the general public and has identified lapses in the debt restructuring programme, a major one being lack of consultation with affected individuals and institutions.

“With the current economic hardships in the country and the agitations among the general public, it is in the nation’s interest for the Finance Ministry to suspend the 31 st January deadline given to individuals to sign on to the program and rather propose a road map for dialogue to make the process participatory such that the outcome would be acceptable to all.

“The Council believes that thorough engagements with stakeholders would help the government to appreciate the concerns of the Ghanaian people and put measures in place to address some of the challenges of the programme. The CCG also wants to encourage the media to be diligent with reportage on the debt restructuring program and ensure that they speak to professionals on the matter to avoid false information that would further heighten the already situation of fear and panic in the country,” a statement issued by the Council on Thursday January 19  said.

It added “The leadership of the Christian Council of Ghana will continue to pray for the managers of our economy, especially the finance minister, for God’s wisdom and direction in this matter, and we urge all churches to do same. We strongly believe that God will see us through this difficult situation. Let us keep our hopes alive.”

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has assured the general public that the Akufo-Addo administration cares for the lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians.

According to him,  the government’s desire to protect lives and livelihoods was seen in how it handled the corvid situation.

Going forward, he said, the government will continue to act in ways to protect all Ghanaians.

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

Mr Ofori-Atta said after the meeting that “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.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana


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