I Support Gov’t’s Debt Restructuring- Mahama Declares In London
Former President John Dramani Mahama has declared his unflinching support for the debt restructuring programme currently being implemented by the Akufo-Addo-led administration.
He however stated that though he is not against it, but rather he is against the lack of dialogue.
Speaking at the Chatham House in London on Friday, January 27, on the theme “Africa’s Strategic Priorities and Global Role” Mr. Mahama pointed out that Ghana has to restructure its debt to revive the economy but lamented the wrong procedure being adopted by the Finance Minister which he said has led to the massive rejection of the programme by Individual bondholders and various labour unions.
“I am not opposed to debt restructuring. What has been the contention is the lack of dialogue and consultation with the debt holders on the domestic side. I know that negotiations are taking place with the bondholders on the external side but not the same treatment on the domestic side.
“I have been an advocate for dialogue. Before this whole crisis started, I advised the government and said they should hold a national dialogue on the economy, give us the state of the economy and let everybody understand and after that seek broad consensus behind the economic programme. But this was never done and what we expected will happen, happened.”
The former President accused the government of failing to heed numerous pieces of advice from the opposition on cutting down borrowing and spending scarce resources prudently.
He blamed the mismanagement and recklessness of the Akufo-Addo government for the current economic crisis.
“We had been raising the red flag since 2019 about the government’s reckless borrowing. Going onto the Eurobond market every year for 3 billion dollars and not investing it in the productive sectors of the economy and using most of it for consumption and that is what has ended us where we are.”
In the government’s quest to address the country’s economic woes, the government launched the Debt Exchange Programme to invite holders of bonds to voluntarily exchange approximately GH¢137 billion domestic notes and bonds of the Republic including ESLA and Daakye for a package of new bonds.
The domestic debt exchange program since its announcement has faced huge opposition from labour groups that managed to get pension funds exempted. Several groups made up of individual bondholders have also rejected the programme by the government.