The Dean at Cape Coast University Business School, Professor John Gatsi has described as harsh the government’s handling of bondholders with the Debt Exchange Program (DEP).
Commenting on the issues on Starr Today with Joshua Kodjo Mensah on Monday, January 17, 2023, the Economist said the government must look at the contestations over the domestic debt exchange program germane to the roll-out of the programme.
“If I am your creditor and you come to me that you can’t pay because the program you put in place is destroying my liquidity, and then I have to go to you to borrow in order to solve my liquidity problem, that is ridiculous. So those are the issues that ought to be discussed.”
“Again when you come to the individual bonds, somebody has been living on the periodic coupon that is being paid and you say you will not give the person anything in 2023. How do you want the person to survive? Are we going to solve the country’s problems like this, are we at war?” Mr. Gatsi queried.
The Government’s controversial debt exchange programme has been extended further for the third time after heightening agitations by stakeholders.
According to the Finance Ministry, the move is to afford them the opportunity to have some stakeholder engagements.
But Gatsi maintained that government needs to redo the whole debt exchange program so that “it will keep individuals alive and it will keep the government in receiving support from the public in terms of what they will be losing to the debt exchange program.”
He continued: “But it is draconian to tell somebody who is struck by a stroke living on the periodic coupon that you will not pay the person anything 2023. Somebody whose livelihood is dependent on the periodic coupon you tell the person that you will not give the person anything. That is not the way we want to manage the economy.”
Meanwhile, the minority in parliament is demanding an immediate suspension of the ongoing domestic debt exchange program.
“There should be deeper consultation and greater transparency about Ghana’s total debt and its management. The Nana Addo /Bawumia Government cannot continue to manage Ghana’s economy like a private entity. Ghanaians deserve to know how much is involved and how long the debt exchange will take. It is not just about people’s investment, but it is much more about people’s lives and livelihood. The Nana Addo /Bawumia government should suspend the Debt Exchange Programme now! Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu said at a Press Conference on Monday.