Dr George Domfeh, a development economist and Research Fellow, has advised the government to exempt pensioners who purchased government bonds with small amounts of money from the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.
He observed that the above group depend mostly on the interest on their bonds for their daily activities, especially to purchase their medicines while in pension, hence the advice.
Since its introduction, some groups, organisations and entities including the Christian Council, labour Unions, have kicked against the debt exchange programme.
The pensioners have also mounted pressure on the government to exclude them from the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.
Unfortunately, the government could not accept the demands entirely.
Addressing some retired bondholders who went to picket at the Ministry of Finance on Monday, February 6, 2023, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, appealed to individual bondholders to accept the revised terms from the government to complete the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) and pave the way for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.
He said the five-year maturity on offer was favourable given that a third of them held instruments with maturities of more than 12 years, despite an interest rate cut to 15% from an average of 18.5%.
He mentioned that the current term is the best the government can offer individual bondholders.
According to the government, those under the age of 59 are being offered a 10% coupon rate.
“Look into your heart and ask whether what has been offered is so injurious versus your contribution to our economy,” the Finance Minister told five of the protesters after a larger group had left their earlier demonstration.
“Hand on heart I feel (the deal offered) is good for you and good for the nation,” he added.
Speaking on Atinka FM’s morning show, AM Drive with Kaakyire Ofori Ayim, Dr George Domfeh said,”I will also plead with the government that there are some of the pensioners whose money is small, some of them purchased about GHS50,000 and the whole year, the profit they get, which is about 10,000 is what they spend, and that is what they use to buy their medicines during pension, so if the government exempts those small small monies from the domestic debt exchange programme, it will help,” he said.
He continued, “Some have about 20 billion and they have been taking an interest for about 20 years; the government can connive with them; but for those who have just about GHS 50,000, the government should exempt them because that is what they feed on and their money is small.”
Meanwhile, he also appealed to the people, especially the pensioners, to accept the programme and give the government their full support for the good of the entire nation.