March 30, 2023
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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo should intervene and have a second look at the inclusion of pensioners in the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP), former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for TemaEast Titus Glover has appealed.

Mr Titus Glover indicated that the issues that have been raised by the pensioners are legitimate for which the President must step in.

Contributing to a discussion on the picketing by pensioners against their inclusion in the debt exchange, the former Deputy Minister of Transport said on the Big Issue on TV3 Wednesday, February 15 that “I am a bit sad and uncomfortable when I am running commentaries on some of these things because my mother, coming Sunday will be 79 years. if my late father were to be alive today he would be 85 so clearly, when you talk about issues about pensioners it makes you to be a bit careful.

“Clearly, when you look at the number of these individual pension bondholders, it is quite a few and the issues that they are raising, for me, is quite legitimate. But we all know that these bondholders thing is voluntary thing, you can decide to apply. We are told that those who did not ably to join it is their choice

“If these old men and women are picketing at the Finance Ministry to raise attention, I think it is their right to do so and to appeal that they exempt them from all that they are doing.”

Touching on the decision by a former Chief Justice Sohpha Akuffo to join the picketing, Mr Glover said “The significance of the former Chief Justice makes the whole issue quite problematic. It is her right to join her colleague older people. Looking at the situation she could have decided that from where I am, where I have been in society I can decide to be on my own but she preferred to join them in raising the attention of the government to look at these people.

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“Just like the government agreed that it’s not going to touch on the pension funds of workers, it is important that HE the president must relook at this issue that our old men and women are talking about. These are people who have contributed. I make a passionate appeal to the President that looking at what is happening it doesn’t give us a good impression about us as a government and the need for him to intervene and make sure that we bring some sanity because every day that [the pensioners] go there and raise the issues, they are talking about, it is not good for government and sincerely, I think the President must intervene. The president listens, he has advisors, I want to appeal to him to intervene.”

Madam Sophia Akuffo stated on Tuesday that she gets suspicious when Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta listens to the concerns of others and responds to their letters regarding the domestic debt exchange programme but does not respond to pensioners who have written to him to exclude them from the programme.

Ms Sophia Akuffo insisted that the Finance Minister must exempt pensioners from the programme.

“A simple letter that was written by the association to the Minister of Finance that exempt us from your programme. That is the gist, I always like to distil things to their lowest common denominator, exempt us, we are pensioners. Up till now, I have seen a copy of the letter, it has been dated 7th January.

“Up till now, there has not been a note of acknowledgement and just a few days similar letters that were written to the Minister have been responded to whereby he has categorically exempted other groups. Why? When I cannot fathom the reasons for something being done in a particular way especially when it has been done for others but it is not being done for others I start getting suspicious, I have grown to the age where I have seen it all,” Speaking to journalists in Accra after joining pensioners again to picket at the Ministry of Finance to protest their inclusion in the programme, on Tuesday, February 14.

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The government has however revealed that it has reached 80 per cent participation in the programme.

“The Government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) closed on Friday 10th February 2023 with over 80% participation of eligible bonds,” a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday, February 14 said.

“The Government wants to thank the people of Ghana for their forbearance and support throughout these very difficult times.”

It said by the participation of the voluntary bondholders after the closure of the Programme on Friday, the country has inched closer towards securing the $3billion extended credit facility (ECF) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The DDEP is being done to help protect the economy and enhance our capacity to service our public debts effectively.

“The alternative of not executing the DDEP would have brought grave disorder in the servicing of our national debt and exacerbated the current economic crisis.

“The Government is, therefore, grateful for the overwhelming participation of all bondholders.

“Your support and contribution has gotten your country much closer to securing the IMF programme.”

It asked individual bondholders, particularly pensioners, who did not participate in the Programme, to be rest assured that their coupon payments and maturing principals will be honoured in line with laid-down rules.

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