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Christian Council asks gov’t to immediately suspend debt exchange programme

The Christian Council of Ghana has called on the government to immediately suspend the debt exchange programme.

In a statement, the Christian Council said after various discussions with some stakeholders on Ghana’s economy, they are convinced that the whole process needs to be suspended until broader consultations have been made.

“As an advocacy group that speaks for the vulnerable in society, the Council has examined the concerns of the Individual Bond Holders Association of Ghana (IBHAG), the Pensioner Bondholders Forum, our church members and the general public and have identified lapses in the debt restructuring programme, a major one being lack of consultation with affected individuals and institutions.

“With the current economic hardships in the country and the agitations among the general public, it is in the nation’s interest for the Finance Ministry to suspend the 31St January deadline given to individuals to sign on to the program and rather propose a road map for dialogue to make the process participatory such that the outcome would be acceptable to all.”

The Finance Minister during an engagement on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, with some front-line members of the individual bondholder groups in Accra, agreed to set up the committee for a broader dialogue.

The groups and other institutions have vehemently kicked against the inclusion of individual bondholders in the programme. The groups in the past weeks have argued that the programme will have dire consequences on the individuals if it kicks off.

It is currently unclear how many institutions or individuals have signed onto the programme which has been rejected by several groups.

In the government’s quest to address the country’s ongoing economic challenges, it launched the programme to invite holders of bonds to voluntarily exchange approximately GH¢137 billion domestic notes and bonds of the Republic including ESLA and Daakye for a package of new bonds.

The domestic debt exchange program since its announcement has faced huge opposition from labour groups which managed to get pension funds exempted. Other groups including the Individual Bondholders Association have also rejected the programme.

Below is the full statement by the Christian Council

SUSPEND DEBT RESTRUCTURING PROGRAM AND ENGAGE STAKEHOLDERS

The leadership of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) has followed with deep interest, the on-going debates about debt restructuring in the country. After various discussions with some stakeholders on Ghana’s economy, we are convinced that the whole process needs to be suspended until broader consultations have been made.

As an advocacy group that speaks for the vulnerable in the society, the Council has examined the concerns of the Individual Bond Holders Association of Ghana (1BHAG), the Pensioner Bondholders Forum, our church members and the general public and have identified lapses in the debt restructuring programme, a major one being lack of consultation with affected individuals and institutions.

With the current economic hardships in the country and the agitations among the general public, it is in the nation’s interest for the Finance Ministry to suspend the 31St January deadline given to individuals to sign on to the program and rather propose a road map for dialogue to make the process participatory such that the outcome would be acceptable to all.

The Council believes that thorough engagements with stakeholders would help the government to appreciate the concerns of the Ghanaian people and put measures in place to address some of the challenges of the program.

The CCG also wants to encourage the media to be diligent with reportage on the debt restructuring program and ensure that they speak to professionals on the matter to avoid false information that would further heighten the already situation of fear and panic in the country.

The leadership of the Christian Council of Ghana will continue to pray for the managers of our economy, especially the finance minister, for God’s wisdom and direction in this matter, and we urge all churches to do same.

We strongly believe that God will see us through this difficult situation. Let us keep our hopes alive.

God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.

TOGETHER WE SOW AND REAP

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