Pensioner bondholders suspend picketing
The Pensioner Bondholder Forum has suspended picketing of the Ministry of Finance following an agreement between the two sides for the payment of outstanding coupons to members of the forum.
The group, however, said “should the ministry renege on any of the agreed points, we shall resume picketing the ministry”.
“As a result of the agreement reached with the ministry on the payment of outstanding coupons and principals to pensioners, we are hereby suspending our picketing from Monday, May 15, 2023,” the forum has said.
A statement dated May 13, 2023, and signed by the Convener of the forum, Dr Adu A. Antwi, said the suspension of the picketing followed the ministry’s agreement “to give instruction for the payment of all outstanding coupons (including those due on May 15, 2023) to pensioners by May 15, 2023”.
It said the ministry also agreed “to pay subsequent coupons to pensioners on due days”.
The picketing of the ministry by members of the Pensioner Bondholders Forum started in the wake of delays in the payment of coupons and matured principals to pensioners exempted by the government from the domestic debt exchange programme.
The statement said the forum wrote to the Ministry of Finance on March 30, 2023, advising that “that pensioners be paid all their outstanding coupons and principals by April 21, 2023, and make payments of subsequent coupons and principals as and when due, and without delays”.
It said at the time of writing the letter of March 30, 2023, “there were 13 coupons and two principals in arrears, with the earliest due amount being in arrears for 38 days.
“We advised in our letter of March 30, 2023, which was copied the Speaker of Parliament, that if the anomalous situation we were complaining about was not resolved by April 21, 2023, we shall be left with no other option than to resume picketing the ministry to further press home our demand for the payment of all coupons and principals in arrears, and an end to payment delays,” it added.
It said in a meeting with the ministry on April 14, 2023, the forum extended the deadline to April 28, 2023, “to allow the ministry additional one week to resolve the delayed payments”.
It said the sector minister, however, “failed to make any payment to us by April 28, 2023, so we notified the police and resumed our picketing on May 8, 2023”.
The statement said on the fifth day of the picketing on Friday, May 12, 2023, the group had a meeting with the Minister of State of the ministry, Mohammed Amin Adam, during which the new agreements were reached.