Debt exchange: We didn’t have enough time to consult – John Kumah
A deputy Finance Minister, John Kumah, has blamed the lack of consultation with key stakeholders in the debt exchange programme on the limited time that was available to the government before announcing the deal.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Tuesday, December 13, Dr Kumah said the government hurriedly announced the debt exchange programme to ease the fears and panic that had gripped investors and bondholders and also to prevent capital flight.
He, however, assured that there will be further engagement with ‘opposers’ of the debt exchange programme as the country awaits the board approval of the International Monetary Fund for a 3 billion dollar bailout after the Staff Level Agreement announced on Tuesday.
“The immediate bondholders have been well consulted, and we will continue to engage all the other groups who feel that they should have been consulted more,” Dr Kumah told host Umaru Sanda Amadu.
The Member of Parliament for the Ejisu Constituency added “We didn’t have much time to exhaust all levels of consultations, but I want to assure you that we have engaged all the affected groups, and we will continue to engage all those who are going to be affected.”
Several labour unions including the Trades Union Congress have kicked against the imposition of cuts on pension funds as part of the debt exchange programme aimed at supporting the country’s economic recovery.
They include the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Ghana Chamber of Commerce and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
The unions have therefore vowed to resist any attempt by the government to reduce the value of pension funds of their members which are in institutional bonds.
The TUC on Monday said its members would not be part of a programme that would worsen their plight and further plunge them into unimaginable hardship.
Secretary General of the TUC, Dr Yaw Baah, said: “The TUC and all our affiliates have decided that the pension funds of our members will not be part of the Debt Exchange Programme…within one week, the government should ensure that all pension funds including SSNIT funds be exempted,” he said.