Debt Exchange Engagements Should Have Started Earlier – Sylvester Tetteh

Vice Chair of the Communications Committee of Parliament, Sylvester Tetteh, says the Finance Ministry should have started engagement on the domestic debt exchange programme much earlier.

According to him, the very limited time and the general lack of consultation on the debt exchange programme is what had led to the stiff opposition from key stakeholders.

Recent engagements, he said, have been successful at softening entrenched positions concerning the debt treatment as amicable deals are being reached.

He stated that if the Ministry had begun negotiations much earlier the various deadline delays could have been avoided.

“I think that what the Ministry of Finance had failed to do over time was to have started the engagement much earlier. You see the position of the individual bondholders and the forum, they were quite hostile.

“But today, Senyo Hosi in his own comment says that he applauds the Minister for the kind of engagement and where they’ve gotten to. And I think if they had started this much earlier we wouldn’t have gotten where we are,” he said on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Convener of the Individual Bondholders Forum, Senyo Hosi, says the Finance Minister has assured that individual bondholders who refuse to sign on to the debt exchange programme will face no punitive actions.

According to him, the Minister has affirmed the voluntary nature of the deal and has encouraged bondholders to support the programme to ensure its success.

Mr Hosi said that “well it was first presented as voluntary by force, but right now I think that from my engagements with the Minister yesterday, it is voluntary-voluntary and he’s committed to that. He was very emphatic that for individuals there will be no punitive action if you do not accept the DDE.”

This assurance follows weeks of protests from individual bondholders who insist that the government will reach its 80% bondholders target for the debt exchange programme without their inclusion.

This was after the government indicated that in a bid to rescue the economy and secure a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), all bondholders will not receive any interest on their bonds for the 2023 financial year.

But, following recent engagements, Senyo Hosi says the Minister’s assurance has now affirmed the voluntary nature of the debt treatment and thus individual bondholders are at will to choose whether to partake in the programme or not without fear of reprisal.

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