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DDE: We seem to be rushing – Prof. Lord Mensah

Financial Consultant, Professor Lord Mensah, says the government seems to be rushing with its domestic debt exchange programme.

According to him, due to the novelty of the debt treatment in Ghana’s fiscal space, it would have only been prudent for government to have used ample time to engage the investor community on the exercise, while affording them enough time to think through their decisions.

His comment follows strong pushback from bondholders who have argued that the Ministry of Finance had failed to engage them appropriately on the domestic debt exchange programme and in some cases, have applied coercive tactics to get some stakeholders in the financial sector sign onto the programme.

Speaking on PM Express Business Edition, Prof. Lord Mensah says ample time for engagement would have afforded the investor community the chance to fully participate in the programme while ensuring that their views were being included in the policy formulation.

“We seem to be rushing because if you look at the numbers that were churned out, and the time that we’re using to negotiate, we did not give the investor community [enough time] to absorb the kind of information that is before them for them to think through as to whether they can adapt or adjust to a level where they can come to a compromise.

“We just seem to be pushing things down the throat of the investor community which I’m afraid of post-debt exchange what is likely to happen, because we need a safe space to build the economy. So basically that is my worry now as we speak,” he said.

Government has extended the deadline for the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) to February 7, 2023.

The Finance Ministry in a press release on Tuesday added that a new settlement date of Tuesday, February 14, 2023, will be confirmed via the new Exchange Memorandum. 

The original deadline for the Programme expired at 4 pm, January 31.

Amidst lots of disagreement following the announcement of DDEP, the Ministry said it “has made significant progress with all stakeholders, including financial sector industry associations and representative groups of individual bondholders, with respect to their participation in the Programme.” 

The Finance Ministry announced updates based on its meeting with stakeholders and announces that “based on the agreement reached with the Ghana Association of Banks (GAB), Ghana Insurers Association (GIA), and the Ghana Securities Industry Association (GSIA), the new terms of the exchange have been accepted. A revised and final Exchange Memorandum will be released by Thursday, February 2, 2023.”

Source: Ghana News

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