Political matters

They’ve blown up the whole financial sector including confidence in Securities – Bentil

Vice President of Imani Africa, Mr Kofi Bentil has said in just 8 years, the government has destroyed the finacial sector of the economy including government securities.

He described this as a sad situation after stating that it took the country 60 years to build.

His comments come at a time Zenith Bank Ghana voluntarily stopped operating securities and capital markets.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced in a statement that although Zenith Bank Ghana Limited voluntarily ceased its Trustee services for Unit Trust Schemes in 2022, the Bank continues to hold a Custodian license issued by the SEC under the Securities Industry Act, 2016 (Act 929) and remains an active operator in the Ghanaian Securities market and banking industry.

SEC said in a statement that its earlier announcement that it has approved the voluntary cessation of business of Zenith Bank Ghana Limited as a licensed Trustee was misinterpreted.

“The attention of the SEC has been drawn to various messages being disseminated among the general and investing public misinterpreting the Public Notice titled PUBLIC NOTICE ON VOLUNTARY CESSATION OF TRUSTEE SERVICES BY ZENITH BANK GHANA LIMITED
(SEC/PN/001/01/2023), issued by the SEC on Wednesday, 18th January 2023.

“The SEC is hereby issuing this Public Notice to clarify that, as stated in the Public Notice referenced above, Zenith Bank Ghana Limited voluntarily requested to cease operations as a Trustee. Although Zenith Bank Ghana Limited voluntarily ceased its Trustee services for Unit Trust Schemes in 2022, the Bank continues to hold a Custodian license issued by the SEC under the Securities Industry Act, 2016 (Act 929) and remains an active operator in the Ghanaian Securities market and banking industry,” SEC said.

In a tweet, Mr Bentil who is also a private legal practitioner said on Thursday, January 19 that  “Really sad to realise that in a space of 8 years they’ve blown up the whole financial sector including confidence in government securities!! Something we took 60 years to build.”

Last week, a renowned economist, Mr Kwame Pianim also criticized the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta for the way and manner he is managing the economy.

In his view, measures including the debt exchange programme introduced by the Finance Minister, clearly show that the economy is in bankruptcy.

Mr Pianim was speaking in an interview with TV3’s Paa Kwesi Asare regarding the domestic debt exchange proramme.

The Government announced that under the programme which has met strong resistance from most Ghanaians including members of the Individual Bondholders Forum (IBF), individual bondholders were to submit to a “voluntary” arrangement to exchange their domestic bonds for new benchmark bonds.

Mr Pianim who is also a founding father of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) said “For this government to allow Ken Ofori-Atta to sit in front of Ghanaians to make this proposal…

“If Ken was genuine when the Attorney General came with his legal opinion, which in the commonwealth has the force of a high court order, he would have taken this document and gone to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). If indeed, it is the that IMF that told him to do that, I think it is unlawful, it is unconstitutional.”

He added “… Ken Ofori-Atta is saying, let us do this programme but this is badly thought out, not thought through carefully. This exchange programme is like a time bomb that Ken is putting under this economy. For the next 30 to 40 years, we are going to suffer from it. It is a time bomb because he is squeezing billions of Cedis from this economy.

“Government Instruments, T-Bills and and government bonds are risk-free, that is why insurance companies and banks are mandated not to invest in them because they are risk free.

“Ken Ofori-Atta has the unenviable reputation of going down in our history as the one who made government bonds not risk free. He will go down as the only Minister for Finance who has led to this country into bankruptcy. That is where we are.”

The government is struggling to get its domestic debt exchange programme implemented due to the rejection from stakeholders.

Mr Ofori-Atta held a meeting with Individual Bondholders on Wednesday, January 18 on the programme.

After the meeting, he said the members of the Individual Bondholders Forum had legitimate concerns against the inclusion of individual bondholders in the Debt Exchange.

He told journalists in Accra after a meeting that “they stated their concerns which are legitimate concerns of all Ghanaians.”

He further announced that 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.

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.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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