The Coalition of Individual Bondholder Groups is giving the Ministry of Finance a 48-hour ultimatum to pay all matured principal and outstanding coupons due on the existing bonds issued by the Government of Ghana.
This follows the elapse of the deadline by the government to honour its debt obligation.
In a statement signed by Dr. Joel Djangma Akwetey and Senyo Hosi, the coalition called on the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Ghana Stock Exchange to enforce the rules of full disclosure required by all issuers including the Government of Ghana.
“We are giving a 48-hour ultimatum to the Ministry of Finance to honour its word to pay all matured principal and outstanding coupons due on the existing bonds issued by the Government of Ghana. We call on the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Ghana Stock Exchange to enforce the rules of full disclosure required by all issuers including the Government of Ghana”.
It pledged to fight to ensure the full payment of investors’ monies and the preservation of the securities markets for the future generation.
The Finance Ministry in February promised to pay all bondholders who opted out of the Voluntary Domestic Debt Exchange programme their coupons and principals today March 13, 2023, but that has not been the case.
Finance Minister’s posture
The coalition described as unfortunate the disregard by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, of all the basic rules that have been established to protect the integrity of the local markets and maintain sovereign credibility for Ghana.
“At the close of business on March 13, 2023, the Ministry of Finance, led by Ken Ofori-Atta, has disregarded all the basic rules that have been established to protect the integrity of the local markets and maintain sovereign credibility for Ghana. It is most unfortunate that the ministry continues to have absolute disregard for its creditors, in this case Individual bondholders, despite prior meetings held in which we stated the need for communication.”
“The coupon and principal payments due to Individual Bondholders who opted out of the Voluntary Domestic Debt Exchange programme have not been paid, despite written press releases confirming the resumption of payments on March 13, 2023, it added.
It also expressed worry about the loud silence of the SEC – charged with the mandate to protect investors and market integrity.
“The umbrella regulator of the Securities markets – Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ghana – charged with a mandate to protect investors and market integrity have also maintained a loud silence throughout this period on the plight of Individual Bondholders. The Ghana Fixed Income Market of the Ghana Stock Exchange, where the old Government of Ghana bonds are listed and traded have also not enforced its basic rules of disclosure required by issuers. More loud silence.”
Market confidence waning
Furthermore, it warned of the fading away of the little confidence remaining in the market.
“The little confidence remaining in the markets as a result of assurances from the Ministry of Finance is fading away under the full watch of the very institutions set up to protect”.
It promised to fight till payments are done.
“Individual Bondholders, as was the case in the aftermath of the DDEP announcement, have been left to fight for themselves as the Government creates a full default on its obligations. Fight we will”.
Gov’t to restrict importation of rice, ‘yemuadie’ and other products
The government is set to lay before Parliament today, November 21, a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) seeking to restrict the importation of selected strategic products into the country.
The items, numbering over 20, will include rice, tripe (popularly called “yemuadie” in Ghana), and diapers.
The government said the move is part of efforts to enhance local production.
Speaking during a press briefing in Parliament, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond said, “Stomach of animals, bladder and the chunk of intestines (yemuadie), the country had had to put in an amount of about $164 million towards the importation of these items. We are taking steps to ensure that in terms of rice, there’s no poverty of rice in the country.”
He emphasized, “By these restrictions, we are not going to ensure that there’s no food in the country at all; that is not the point at all. There have to be some efforts by the government to ensure that we go back to Acheampong’s operation feed yourself. There are about 22 items on the list, one of them, I think, is diapers.”
He announced the introduction of the Ghana Standards Authority Regulations 2023, which also seeks to streamline the manufacturing of cement to ensure competitive pricing.
Mahama doesn’t understand 24hr economy; don’t vote for him – Bawumia
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says former President John Dramani Mahama does not understand the 24-hour economy policy he is proposing.
According to the Vice President, that policy is already being implemented in the country, as hospitals, fuel companies, among others, operate a 24-hour system.
Dr. Bawumia, therefore, urged Ghanaians to ignore Mahama during the 2024 polls since he has nothing new to offer and vote for the New Patriotic Party.
“John Mahama says he has a new idea. What is the idea? He says he wants a 24-hour economy. He doesn’t even understand that policy. Today in Ghana, our hospitals work 24 hours, our electricity company works 24 hours, our water company works 24 hours, our fuel stations work 24 hours, and many chop bars work 24 hours. Today because of digitalisation, you can transfer money 24 hours, you can receive money 24 hours… So he doesn’t understand his own policy. It doesn’t make sense.”
“So I want you to vote for me in 2024 because I will bring a new vision, I will bring a new policy. Mahama is the past, Dr Bawumia is the future. If John Mahama was there, we would say we have a dumsor economy, you can’t have a 24-hour economy in dumsor. So, you want to vote for Dr Bawumia in 2024, we will take the country to new heights,” Dr Bawumia stated.
Bagbin rebukes IMF over alleged pressure to pass some bills under certificate of urgency
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of pressuring the House to pass a number of bills under a certificate of urgency.
Mr. Bagbin cited bills such as the Affirmative Action Bill, which is allegedly being pushed by the IMF as part of the conditionality for the balance of the $3 billion credit facility for Ghana.
Speaking at the Speaker’s Breakfast Meeting on Monday, Alban Bagbin insisted that the House will not be coerced by the IMF to pass the bill.
“Even in this budget, you can see the arm of the IMF in a lot of provisions in the budget. A critical bill like the Affirmative Action Gender Equality Bill has come to Parliament under a certificate of urgency. Please, it won’t happen; we won’t pass it under a certificate of urgency.”
“There are critical stakeholders we must consult and make sure we go together. We will not be dictated by the IMF; that one, you can be assured. This is a very critical bill that the IMF should know that we need the buy-in of the stakeholders to be able to implement it,” Alban Bagbin said.
The Affirmative Action Bill, when passed into law, would seek to expunge the historically low representation of women in decision-making spaces and promote democracy and development through all-inclusive participation.