TV host of Good Morning Ghana, Dr. Randy Abbey, has taken a swipe at the government for failing to honour its commitment to an exemption for the Pensioners Bondholder in the ongoing Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).
His question comes at the back of the ongoing picketing by some members of the Pensioners Bondholders Forum, who are demanding from the government the money owed them.
According to him, the DDEP granted immunity to the pensioner’s bondholders and the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, such that their funds would be given to them on a stated date and time as agreed upon with the Finance Minister.
“My understanding of the DDEP is to the extent that it is a voluntary thing, we have three classes of persons or groups. Those who voluntarily joined, those who voluntarily decide not to join, and then those who are exempted by the state. Now those who are exempted and those who voluntarily decide not to join are not the same. So for those who voluntarily decide not to join, there are implications of taking the decision not to join. Those who are exempted by the government, are exempted from the implication of not deciding to join. So, a person or a group deciding not to be part of the DDEP and the government exempting a person or group of persons from the DDEP are different,” he said.
The TV host continued to explain that the exemption granted to the pensioners, protects them from the implications of not joining the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.
“So when you are exempted, what it means is that the government is saying that I have granted you immunity from all the implications or replication of the DDEP and so as for you life goes on as normal. For the person who voluntarily decides not to, if there are repercussions I suffer, it’s my decision. So, in that vain, the pensioner bond holders belong to the exempted class. They don’t belong to the class that voluntarily said they won’t join and therefore they have immunity against the repercussions or implications of not voluntarily joining. In furtherance of that, the finance minister whiles they were picketing and asking for two things, the finance minister himself met them and gave them assurances. The ministry issued a statement and told us when they will be paid the date, and everything,” he added.
To Dr. Abbey, the ministry’s narrative of aggrieved bondholders coming out to picket is untrue; rather, they are pensioners who were granted immunity and were assured of payment from the government.
“Just three weeks ago, the deputy finance minister, even issued another statement, and the pensioner bondholders had come back to clarify and now put out a text message to communicate what they agreed on. So, the earlier situation is not about a Ghanaian or a group of Ghanaians who decided voluntarily that they won’t be part of DDEP and are now crying. This is a group who were granted immunity by the state, who were given assurance and asked not to picket again by no other person than the finance minister. They threaten, and they met the deputy finance minister, but nothing happened. They’ve gone back there to picket again,” it stated.