Lack of constructive engagement causing rejection of debt exchange programme – Atuahene

A banking consultant, Richmond Atuahene has blamed the Government’s lack of constructive consultations with the various unions and associations for the massive opposition to the proposed debt exchange programme.

Speaking to Umaru Sanda Amadu on Eyewitness News, Mr Atuahene said stakeholder engagements should have been the first thing to do before the announcement of the programme.

“We haven’t engaged people constructively to tell them the positives and negatives of the programme and definitely, those bondholders are the losers, so they should be able to understand what they [Government] are going to do with their investments.

“People have pensions there, and they have mutual funds there too, and I think you need to meet them because what they did in Jamaica, they met the people for about a week or two, discussed the issue with them and told them if I do a debt haircut of say 20%, it is going to cost so much and if I do an extension and a reduction on a coupon, it is going to cost us so much, then you weigh the two and they will see it physically and then accept it.”

He added that because these engagements have not been done properly, “people will resist even if it is good. You should engage people to understand where you are going and how you are going and how it is going to help them.”

He, therefore, cautioned the Government to get some experts to speak to bondholders because “there is still room for people to speak and bring the issues out so that people’s fears will be reduced because the opposition is all about anxiety.”

“If you go narratively, it is difficult for people to understand, but if you go with figures, it is easy for them to understand and agree,” he added.