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Debt Exchange Programme not the solution to Ghana’s problems – Kwesi Pratt to government

Seasoned Journalist, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. has shared dissenting views on the government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme which is thought to be a way to resolving Ghana’s economic crises.

Government last year announced Ghana’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme to invite holders of bonds to voluntarily exchange approximately GH¢137 billion domestic notes and bonds including ESLA and Daakye for a package of new bonds.

In view of this, existing domestic bonds were to be exchanged as of December 1, 2022, for a set of four new bonds maturing in 2027, 2029, 2032, and 2037.

There’s arisen a strong opposition against this programme as the Individual Bondholders’ Forum (IBF), a voluntary group of individual bondholders, have kicked against it and Pensioner Bondholders Forum has also petitioned government to exempt all pensioners holding sovereign bonds from the programme.

Many Ghanaians have expressed their resentment against this programme.

As critics raise objections, the Legal Practitioner and the Founder of Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has jumped to the defence of the government.

According to him, the Debt Exchange Programme is a “very necessary evil for our economy”.

“I’m sorry but we have to face the hard/painful truths. We a’int sitting pretty. Our focus must be on how the burden to individual bondholders may be possibly eased; but not to take the hardline position of simply saying no to participation. It will come back to hit us harder!”

“Its success is critical to restoring macroeconomic stability, securing an IMF programme. It hits those of us holding bonds very hard. A straight no to it is no solution”, he said in a series of tweets.

But to Kwesi Pratt, this programme is not the solution to the problems Ghana is facing.

“What we are doing, is it the solution to the problem? It is not the solution to the problem. It may alleviate the burden on government but the country will incur the debt again. It is not the solution at all”, he exclaimed during Peace FM’s morning show “Kokrokoo”.

He noted that Mr. Gabby Otchere-Darko’s tweets give credence to his position that the programme won’t resolve the crises, saying he (Gabby) “admits this is not right”.

He raised issues to do with Ghana importing tomato paste from Germany and having only 2 percent value from the extraction of her gold as some of the critical matters that need to be resolved in order to restore the economy.

“When you look at tomato paste produced in Germany, Ghana is the 3rd largest importer of tomato paste from Germany. How can we explain that? Who can explain that? 3rd largest importer of tomato paste from Germany, who can explain that? What does this mean? You will definitely run into debts if that is the situation!”, he stated.

He added; “The mining companies who extract our gold and return just 2 percent to the Ghana economy, what are we telling them? Compare that to bondholders’ money. As we speak now, Ghana is the 6th largest producer of gold in the world but when we export the gold, only 2 percent comes back to Ghanaian economy. What are we doing about that?…Ninety-eight (98) percent of the value of gold extracted from this country doesn’t stay in the Ghanaian economy.”

To him, the Debt Exchange Programme will do the country no good if these issues among others are addressed.





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