The deputy ranking member of the finance committee Isaac Adongo has criticized the government for sacrificing $10 billion bondholders’ money for a $3 billion IMF bailout.
This comment comes after the finance minister in a press statement that the government has secured more than the needed 80% participation in the (DDEP) as part of key steps to reach board-level approval with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a $3 billion facility to restore macroeconomic stability in the country.
The government targeted 80% participation in the program to help restructure 137.3 billion Ghana cedis in bonds on the domestic market to bring its total debt, which stands at about 575.5 billion Ghana cedis to sustainable levels. Which was a criterion the country must meet to secure a possible $ 3 billion bailout.
The government expressed gratitude to the people of Ghana for their support throughout these very difficult times and said it will consider inputs made by all stakeholders during the DDEP engagements to further streamline the government’s expenditures.
The finance ministry maintained that the exercise was voluntary and thus the right of the individual to self-exempt was never in doubt.
Speaking in an interview on Morning Starr with Francis Abban the deputy ranking member said, “The government is saying, forgo your money so that we can achieve compliance with the internal arrangement of the IMF. So, we can get a program that gives us $3 billion. And yet the people’s money that you want to use to sacrifice is over $10 billion. So, you want to destroy $10 billion in order to go and collect $3 billion over three years not even one year.
“These are people’s monies, these are not the government of Ghana money, these are pensioners’ money. And these are monies they gave to you on the trust of the sovereign. Now the government says we want to take your money, we won’t give you the money because the economy is in trouble”.
He continued; “So the government says in the budget I have 52 billion of interest payment. 31 billion of that is attributable to Ghanaians that I need to pay them in 2023. I am not going to pay you that money I will pay you zero. I have extended the 21 billion that I have to pay to external creditors.
“I write a letter to them suspending payment I’m not going to pay. The same external creditors, I owe then 22billion that I have to pay this year, I am not going to pay.
“So, in all, to achieve debt sustainability and be able to qualify for the IMF program, in 2023 alone 74billion of debt service I am not paying. How can you do this and celebrate as success”.
Ghana hopes to reduce its debt to 55% of Gross Domestic Product by 2028 with the debt operation which involves both domestic and external creditors. The completion of the DDEP puts next, engagements with external creditors on a possible debt restructuring.