Govt should’ve engaged us ahead of debt exchange programme – Bondholder

Member of the Individual Bondholders Forum, William Mensah, is sceptical about the Joint Technical Committee established over the debt exchange programme.

Speaking on The Big Issue, a news analysis programme on Citi TV/Citi FM, Mr. Mensah said the fundamental issue bondholders want to be addressed is the crisis of lack of trust they are faced with.

He said Individual bondholders among other things cannot trust government to ensure the necessary macro-stability to make the long-term returns it [government] is offering them attractive to them.

“The situation we are facing now is an issue of trust. An 8% return on bonds, on the face of it, does not look like a bad deal if we are confident that the right things will be done to the point where the return of 8% looks good. The point we are making is that no one believes that government is going to do the right things to ensure macro-stability to the point where the return they make on these new bonds makes sense to us.”

He does not think setting up a technical committee on the program is an antidote to their concerns.

“I don’t think the solution to what is happening now is the technical committee that has been set up. We need to be engaged. This is what should have happened even before the programme was proposed. The approach has been wrong from the beginning,” he added.

In the government’s quest to address the country’s economic woes, the government 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.

It is currently unclear how many institutions and individuals have signed onto the programme.

The domestic debt exchange program since its announcement has faced huge opposition from labour groups that managed to get pension funds exempted. Several groups made up of individual bondholders have also rejected the programme by the government.

The individuals have threatened to sue the government if not excluded insisting the programme will negatively impact them.

Meanwhile, the deadline for signing up has been further postponed to Tuesday, January 31, 2023.