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T-bills, bonds still  safest to invest in — Ebo Turkson
Prof. Festus Ebo Turkson

T-bills, bonds still safest to invest in — Ebo Turkson

Treasury securities, comprising bills and bonds, are still the safest pair of investments in the country in spite of the government’s inability to repay its debts, an Associate Professor of Economics, Prof. Festus Ebo Turkson, has said.

When compared to other investment instruments in the market, the economics lecturer said the rate of default is low for public debts, making the T-bills and bonds the safest.

In an interview ahead of the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting on rebuilding confidence, Prof. Turkson said although it was unfortunate that the country defaulted, the state remained the safest borrower.

“Whether they like it or not, government bonds are the safest pair of assets to hold in terms of the likelihood of default,” he said.

Consequently, the Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, urged the public to continue to patronise the securities as “not investing is not a wise alternative.”

“You cannot say you will not invest because definitely, there will be inflation and when there is inflation, the value of your money will fall. So, it is unwise to say you will not invest and if you are going to invest, the safest is still government bonds,” the development economist said.

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Forum

Prof. Turkson, who is a member of the Bank of Ghana’s Monetary Policy Committee, is a panel member at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting.

A quarterly event, next Tuesday’s forum will be on the theme: “Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP): Lessons and Implications for How you Invest.”

It is aimed at soliciting the views of experts on how to restore confidence as well as maintain and grow the investment culture after the DDEP.

The breakfast event at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra will be chaired by the Managing Director of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), Abena Amoah.

The Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Rev. Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, will speak on the role of investments in the national development agenda and its benefit to investors while Prof. Turkson will speak on the triggers of the DDEP, lessons and strategies to prevent a repeat.

A chartered accountant and former Chief Executive Officer of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), Dr Dan Seddoh, will also explore the future of investments and how to regain trust.

Lack of consultation

Speaking ahead of the event, Prof. Turkson said the manner in which the DDEP was handled led to the weakening in public confidence.

What happened, which was quite unfortunate, is that given wide discussions or what we call stakeholder engagements, this DDEP would have gone on without any worry.

“But it so happened that enough consultation was not done and so it became a haggle,” Prof. Turkson said.

“That has dented the image of government securities in terms of the extent to which you can hold them and say that the government will not default,” he said.

Way forward

Prof. Turkson said the country needed to undertake massive education of the public on the need to trust government securities.

He said primary and secondary market dealers also needed to actively engage investors and undertake marketing for people to understand that “what we went through was necessary to get Ghana to move forward.”

The DDEP led to the swapping of about GH¢83 billion costly and short-dated instruments for low cost, long-dated instruments.

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