Exchange Programme not solution to Ghana’s debt issues – African Reform Movement

A political organisation, African Reform Movement has indicated that the debt exchange program government has proposed will not make any significant impact in addressing the country’s debt.

The group contends that government must drastically cut down its expenditure.

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta on Monday, December 5, 2022, launched Ghana’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme with the hope of restoring the nation’s capacity to service its debt.

In the government’s quest to address the country’s ongoing economic challenges, it launched the programme to invite holders of bonds to voluntarily exchange approximately GH¢137 billion domestic notes and bonds of the Republic including ESLA and Daakye for a package of new bonds.

The domestic debt exchange program since its announcement has faced huge opposition from labour groups which managed to get pension funds exempted.

Other groups including the Individual Bondholders Association have also rejected the programme.

This has compelled the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta to form a joint technical committee to ensure continuous engagement with all stakeholders involved in the controversial domestic debt exchange programme.

But in a media interview on the sidelines of the launching of the First Alliance of Independent Reformers (FAIR), President of the African Reform Movement (ARM), Dr. Nii Amu Darko noted that government should do away with the programme.

“It is another clever way of trying to push away what you owe, it is actually a form of selective default and it is not going to change anything because, at the end of the day, the country’s debt still remains. Government should not forget something drives the debt which is called deficit.  As we speak, the 2023 budget project a deficit of GH¢47 billion, how will government finance that?”

”There should be a cap on borrowing and even more importantly you cannot eat what you do not have, so government must cut down expenditure because this GH¢47 billion can end up increasing to GH¢65 billion.”

He argued that the entire 1992 Constitution must be reviewed.

“In the Constitution, there must be equality of opportunity and prosperity. People migrate from rural areas to urban areas because there is no equality of opportunity, so the framework is wrong.”

”The framework that tells you that we want posterity to prosper, that framework has resulted in poverty. There might be no prosperity because, the debt we have we cannot pay. The nation’s debt is more than 100 percent of the GDP. This is because the framework keeps failing and has failed now”.

Dr. Amu Darko also spoke about his organisation and the essence of franchise politics.

“The franchise politics seeks to bring independent candidates to share in the vision of the African Reform Movement (ARM). The organisation has the framework and the message.”

”This is not a political party but a movement that can be a third force in the political space. Ghanaians think they want a change, but they still don’t have an idea of what change they want. We have come with a programme to look at the fundamental issues, not promises,” he added.