Former General Secretary of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Atik Mohammed has called on Ghanaians to support government in implementing its Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).
Last year, the government launched this programme and invited holders of bonds to voluntarily exchange approximately GH¢137 billion domestic notes and bonds including ESLA and Daakye for a package of new bonds.
But the bondholders have kicked against the debt exchange programme.
Pensioner Bondholders Forum has petitioned government to exempt all pensioners holding sovereign bonds from the programme, so has Individual Bondholders’ Forum, a voluntary group of individual bondholders, also resented the programme.
Atik Mohammed, discussing the matter during Peace FM’s “Kokrokoo” show, explained that the government reviewing the bond terms is the only way for Ghana to gain the IMF bailout and restore the economy.
“What has caused this situation? It is because our debt became unsustainable. When we say your debt is unsustainable, it means you have taken so much loans that it has become difficult for you to pay up your debts because we use our income or revenues to pay debts. So, when your revenues are not going up but your debts keep rising, it gets to a point your repayment or your debt burden becomes so huge that paying off your debts becomes very difficult”, he explained.
He appealed to the victims to bear with the government stating if the programme is suspended, Ghana will come full circle and the repercussions might be unbearable, hence it is better for the nation to endure the inconveniences now.
“I am not saying it is the best option because if we had listened to the advice in the past that we should be measured in taking loans, we may not have come to this stage. But we are in this situation already, what next do we do? So, we should know that this is our only way out.”
Atik also advised the government to engage the stakeholders to share their concerns about the programme stressing “there are people who invested money. They deserve an explanation”.
“I am of the view that consultations are very important. No matter what, people will have haircuts because you are recording zero coupon rates in a particular year when you expected that you would get some dividends. That is a haircut. But in all of this, we must admit that if we don’t do it like that, what is the other alternative? What else can we do? Because IMF is our way out as we speak…It is the IMF that can help us so that we get to where we were,” he added.