“You shall not covet,” is the last of the Biblical 10 commandments, and a retired pilot believes government is breaching this injunction by the way it is approaching a portion of the Domestic Debt Exchange programme (DDEP).
According to him, the decision to include individual bondholders in the programme was akin to coveting their hard-earned savings.
Speaking to pro-government asaaseradio.com, he lamented the unilateral nature of the decision to include people like him, especially after labour groups rejected plans to use pension funds earlier.
What the retiree said:
“This unilateral inclusion of domestic bondholders is in breach of the 10th commandment which states that you shall not covet your neighbour’s house nor anything that is for your neighbour.
“Domestic bonds are being included because the government is coveting our monies, just because they see it,” the retiree, who pleaded anonymity, added.
The decision of the finance ministry to include individual bondholders in the programme has been roundly rejected, forcing the government to open negotiations with a group representing bondholders.
Former civil servant protests
Peter Kojo Nyansepe is one of many retirees watching on with anxiety as the Ministry of Finance rolls out the DDEP.
He was also in the news last week, stressing that he will die if his interest on bonds is withheld because he lived on such funds.
“I gave the money to the Ghana Commercial Bank, so they’ll give me the money before I come. I’m going to stay there.
“If they say the money is not there, I’m going to stay there. I’m going to stay there until they carry me wherever they want to carry me because I cannot walk myself, so they’ll carry me.
“Wherever they want to carry me, they have to carry me and go. That’s the only thing I can do. I cannot fight them also”, he said.
Why the DDEP
Government was forced to undertake a restructuring of domestic and external debts as part of conditionalities to achieve a US$3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.
The Minister of Finance announced in December 2022 that the government has recommended that all benefits due institutional bondholders in 2023 not be paid.
After labour groups protested, the government dropped pensions and included individual bondholders who hitherto were not part of the arrangement.
With the latest talks, the payment of the benefits will resume in 2024 at a rate of 5%.
This arrangement has been widely criticized with critics saying that the government is worsening the situation of already burdened Ghanaians.