GH¢83bn bonds surrendered for new ones
Ken Ofori-Atta — Minister of Finance

GH¢83bn bonds surrendered for new ones

The government has received GH¢83 billion of its existing domestic cedi denominated bonds for new ones under the domestic debt exchange programme (DDEP) that ended last Friday.

That paves the way for the government to open discussions with external creditors on a similar debt treatment towards securing a sustainable debt ratio that can earn the country US$3-billion support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stabilise the economy.

The Ministry of Finance said in a statement issued yesterday that the government was pleased with the results, as a substantial majority of the eligible holders had tendered in their bonds.

“This result is a significant achievement for the government to implement fully the economic strategies in the post-COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG) during this current economic crisis,” the statement, signed by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, said.


It explained that of the GH¢97.75 billion outstanding principal, GH¢84.99 billion was voluntarily tendered by investors who opted to participate in the programme.

It said in an appendix attached to the statement that the subscription rate was equivalent to about 84.91 per cent.

It indicated that some investors, including pensioner and individual bondholders who declined the debt exchange, still held about GH¢14.76 billion of the old sovereign paper.

Resettlement date

The ministry also announced the shifting of the resettlement date for the new bonds from February 14 to February 21.

That, it said, was to provide sufficient time to settle the new bonds in an efficient manner.

“This settlement date extension is, however, only to process the settlement of the new bonds.

“The issue date, interest accrual schedules and payment schedules for the new bonds will be adjusted to reflect the actual settlement date,” the statement explained.

It noted that as the debt exchange period had expired, “no new tenders will be accepted, and no revocations or withdrawals are permitted”.


A statement issued in the early hours of yesterday and signed by Mr Ofori-Atta reassured all individual bondholders who did not participate in the exchange that their coupon payments and maturing principals, just like all government bonds, would be honoured in line with fiscal commitments.

“The DDEP is being done to help protect the economy and enhance our capacity to service our public debts effectively,” it said.

It added that the alternative to not executing the DDEP would have brought grave disorder in the servicing of the national debt and exacerbated the current economic crisis.

“The government is, therefore, grateful for the overwhelming participation of all bondholders.

Your support and contributions have got your country much closer to securing the IMF programme,” statement added.

It also expressed gratitude to those who took part in the advocacy to secure an improved offer for participants.

“The government wants to thank the people of Ghana for their forbearance and support throughout these very difficult times,” it added.

Other inputs

It said the Ministry of Finance had also taken note of all additional inputs to further streamline government expenditure made by various stakeholders during the DDEP engagement and gave assurance of the government’s full commitment to address the issues.

Meanwhile, in a last-minute move, pensioner bondholders have rejected calls for them to self-exempt from the DDEP, saying the bond issuer (the government) should accord them the more legal and courteous option of exempting them formally, just as it had done to public sector workers and the companies managing their funds.

“Now the issuer has got the 80 per cent, so he is going ahead with the programme.

The issuer wants us to self-exempt.

That is not what we want,” the Convener of the Pensioners Bondholders Forum, Dr Adu Anane Antwi, said in an interaction with the press when they once again picketed at the forecourt of the Ministry of Finance.

He said a few days ago, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) had written to the Ministry of Finance to exempt the GMA fund completely from the programme, to which the ministry responded, stating that like the pension funds, the GMA fund had been exempted from the programme.

However, Dr Anane Antwi said, the ministry had blatantly refused to respond to the forum’s letter sent to it on January 10, this year and making a similar demand.

Response to letter

“What is preventing the minister from responding to our letter that we wrote? If now you know you have exempted us or if you think what you brought out to the public amounts to exemption, what is your difficulty in writing to pensioners?

“If the minister refuses to use the expression: ‘You have been exempted’ as he used for the pension fund and the doctors’ fund, this matter will not end,” he said.

Dr Anane Antwi said using the expression: ‘You have been exempted’ would not change anything in the programme, since the government had got 80 per cent participation without the pensioners tendering in anything.

He said pensioners were not going to self-exempt because there was a difference between one exempting oneself from the programme and the issuer exempting the person.

“We did not decide to exempt ourselves. We are waiting for the minister to exempt us,” he further said.

He said the group would engage Parliament on the issue on Thursday if they did not receive a response from the ministry.

The issue

The retiree bondholders had been picketing at the Ministry of Finance for over a week, singing patriotic songs while holding placards with various inscriptions, such as: "Empathise With Pensioners.

Tomorrow you would be one", "DDEP too bitter a pill for pensioners", "Show us some love and care", "Our livelihoods are dependent on our bond investment", "Don’t push pensioners into early graves".

The members of the group, who started their picketing on February 6, are demanding total exemption from the DDEP, saying it would have dire consequences on their lives if the government failed to heed their call.

A former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, once again was present to lend her support to the protest against the inclusion of pensioner bondholders in the DDEP.

She indicated that pensioners were not self-exempting because they wanted to continue to hold on to their original bonds because “the word bond is not used as a casual term.Bond means tied to”.

Ms Akuffo expressed worry over the destruction of the image of the nation with the bond default, noting that “it will take a long time before normal Ghanaians will even buy anything or do anything that is government because there is always the suspicion that tomorrow you don’t know what will happen”.

To the people who misunderstood her for joining the picketing, Ms Akuffo said she had a mind of her own and knew what was right to do at any time.

“Gabby Otchere Darko can call me paranoid, I don’t care.

We are talking about people who have served this country and have served well and hard,” she said.

The government launched the DDEP on Monday, December 5, last year.

After three deadline extensions and an administrative window, the call for the voluntary tendering of existing bonds, which have higher coupon (interest) rates and often shorter maturity periods, for new ones ended last Friday.

The settlement (the exchange) with the new bonds, which have lower coupons but mostly longer maturity period, has now been shifted from yesterday to Tuesday, February 21, this year.

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