Debt Exchange: You’re between a rock and a hard place but beg pensioners to accept it – Govt told

The Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta has been told to sound appealing to pensioners to accept their inclusion in the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP). 

A Finacial analyst, Mr Joe Jackson said although the government is caught in a difficult situation as it seeks to close a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it must also take actions to deal with the problems internally as a way of convincing the people to accept the debt exchange programme.

Speaking on the Big Issue on TV3 Monday, February 13, he asked the President to cut down the size of his government.

“Cut down expenditure, cut the size of government so that we can know that you understand the issues. We still have as many ministers as we have,” he said.

Reading the pensioners who are resisting their inclusion in the debt exchange, Mr Jackson said: “we know you are between a rock and hard place but sit with them and neg them.”

The pensioners have been picketing at the Ministry since Monday, February 6 to be exempted from the Programme.

A former Chief Justice Sophia joined them to picket at the Finance Ministry on Friday, February 10 against their inclusion in the debt exchange.

Speaking to journalists she said “These are all people who have worked, they have worked very hard, they could have left the country when others were going but they stayed, they worked for the nation.

“We have had our ups and downs. A lot of us were from generations where we were encouraged to save for tomorrow and all that. We have been through times where all your savings become nonsense because of some government policies, then over the years, bit by bit, people have become more confident in the economy and investments.

Quite a number of people here today, when they retired last two years they have put everything into government bonds, it is a contract and now all of a sudden, you virtually want to, at gunpoint, force them to agree with you that the repayment of the yield of their investment should be as you dictate it. Why?”

She further criticized the government for not being able to account for the borrowings done over the years.

“Why are we in the mess? Nobody has fully explained to us, yes we took debt, what was it used for? and where is the accountability? Exactly what was it used for? You are not telling us about how you are going to be able to make things better but just that ‘help me and I help you’, no, you help yourself first, let me see you doing something serious because we have seen these sort of things too many times.

“I am over 70 years now, I am no longer government employed, my mouth has been ungagged and I am talking and I am saying that we have failed and it is important that the elderly should be respected. I find this wicked, I find it disrespectful, I find it unlawful, I find it totally wrong.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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