The announcement by the minister of finance, Ken Ofori-Ataa, to include pensioners in the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) despite the appeal for him not to, has been described by well-meaning Ghanaians, as unacceptable and insensitive.
A statement issued by the Finance Ministry on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, said he Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) officially closed on Friday, February 10, 2023, with over 80percent participation of eligible bonds.
According to the statement, “We would like to stress that, all Individual bondholders, especially our Senior Citizens, should rest assured that their coupon payments and maturing principals, like all Government bonds, will be honoured in line with Government’s Fiscal commitments.”
As a newspaper, we welcome every effort by the government to salvage the sinking economy and bring it back onto the trajectory of progress, but that should not be done at the expense of pensioners, who have sacrificed their lives in the service of the nation.
But one thing must be made clear, the problem we find ourselves in, was not the creation of pensioners, if any at all, they are the victims of the government callous and reckless borrowing. They must, therefore not be made to pay for the sins that others committed.
Our contention is that Ken Ofori-Atta, will not dare treat his parent the way he treated the pensioners, who pleaded with him to exempt them from the DDEP.
This newspaper finds the whole idea of the DDEP confusing and insulting to the pensioners. If indeed the finance ministry per the statement issued on February 14, has achieved over 80percent participation in the debt exchange programme, why must the minister allow the pensioners to still picket in front of the ministry.
If Ken Ofori-Atta, knew from the beginning that, without the participation of the pensioners, he will still get the 80 percent required to go into further engagement with the International Monetary Fund, then involving the pensioners ab initio, was to punish them for no justifiable reason except for show of power.
We are here today, because the Akufo-Addo-government sees the national treasury as their piggy bank to be dispensed with at will. That is the real issue.
If president Akufo-Addo is sincere about reviving the comatose economy, he should start by reducing his number of employees. Only then can the ordinary Ghanaians can be asked to sacrifice.