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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Pensioners return to Finance Ministry to picket again over DDE inclusion

The Pensioners Bondholders Forum says they will continue to picket at the Finance Ministry till government exempts them from the Domestic Debt Exchange (DDE) Programme. 

The pensioners numbering about a hundred on Monday picketed at the Finance Ministry demanding a total exemption. 

“I was told by my two banks that, it was the safest. So I worked hard, saved and bought government bonds. What we are saying is that total exemption, nothing more nothing less.”

They say government will make life unbearable for them if it goes ahead with the programme. 

One of the pensioners who spoke to Citi News said, “the only term we understand now is total exemption. They exempted pension funds so we the retirees will return to picket again.”

“We will sleep here, with our mats and coal pots. I will come and sleep here because the investments I made are what I used to pay for my drugs”, another added.

However, the deadline for bondholders to subscribe to the programme(DDEP) ends today, Tuesday, February 7, 2023.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta is hopeful all domestic bondholders will sign up for the debt exchange programme by close of the day.

There have been extensions of the deadline for the debt exchange for some revised terms but today marks the final expiration at least according to the Finance Minister.

It is currently unclear how many institutions and individuals have signed onto the programme.

The domestic debt exchange program since its announcement has faced huge opposition from labour groups which managed to get pension funds exempted.

Also, individual bondholders including retirees who were included following the exemption of pension funds have taken a strong stance against their inclusion.

The situation has put government in a tight corner as it races against time to secure an IMF Board appro for a three billion dollar bailout.

The Minister warned that non-participation in the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme by individual bondholders will prolong the efforts by government to revive the economy.

“Frankly, non-participation or a lower-than-expected turnout for the DDEP will prolong efforts to resolve the current economic crisis. In addition, the prospects of international financial support and other financial assurances would be jeopardized. This development could further put strain and stress on the Government’s capacity to honour key commitments. This is not what we want for our economy.”



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