Dr. Randy Abbey, the host of Good Morning Ghana programme on Metro TV has criticized the Ministry of Finance over its treatment of individual bondholders under the Domestic Debt Exchange (DDE) programme.
Randy Abbey is incensed that whereas the external debt holders appear to be treated with respect and dignity, same cannot be said for the domestic bondholders.
On the Tuesday, January 11 edition of his show, Randy Abbey fumed that the persons who led Ghana into the economic ditch are not looking to step down from their high horses and speak to the bondholders.
He alleged that the views of the bondholders expressed through the banks and other financial institutions, which are managers of the bonds, were not factored into the ultimate decision by the ministry.
Randy Abbey asserts that there is anger and concern in the financial industry that government’s poor handling of the debt exchange program could plunge the sector into another mess.
He is therefore urging the government through the Ministry of Finance to engage with the financial institutions and map out a strategy that is mutually acceptable.
“It appears that we are dealing with people whose level of sophistication does not allow them to engage properly. In a haste to get a program, we’ve rushed things through. I wonder all the people who work at the Ministry of Finance know that you can go wherever and buy bonds. Most people buy their bonds from banks and investment houses.
“There was this 3-man committee which was supposed to engage interested parties, you speak to them and they tell you that what they put across was not captured in the decision that was taken. People don’t learn.
“People don’t want to go off their high houses even when they’ve plunged this country into the kind of mess that we find ourselves in. They are still standing on some shaky ivory tower and doing things as they please,” he said.
The government’s debt exchange program has hit deadlock with no breakthrough in negotiations with individual bondholders who were roped into the programme after a failed attempt to impose the DDE on pensions.
Bright Simons, the Vice President of IMANI Africa is claiming that with the revised deadline for the program looming, government has still not attained the 80% rate it anticipated.
On his Twitter page on January 12, 2023, Bright Simons wrote: “With one working day left before Govt of Ghana’s deadline for the debt exchange program, we can confirm that the govt is nowhere near the ideal 80% participation rate. It will also not get the 60% rate it needs to at least show ‘good progress’. Current commitments are too few.”
He attributed the low participation rate to other factors including logistical structures that need to be put in place before the programme begins.
“The problem is not just active resistance. But also, logistical. Some Funds & banks are trying to mobilize client bond owners to sign up 1st before committing to their own holdings & struggling due to general confusion, uncertainty & doubt. Financial literacy is also a block,” he added.