DDE programme brouhaha: Finance Ministry, individual bondholders strike deal… agree to set up technical c’ttee to address concerns

The Ministry of Finance and representatives of individual bondholders yesterday agreed to set up a joint technical committee to resolve bondholders’ concerns over the Domestic Bond Debt Exchange (DDE) programme.

The commit­tee, which is expected to start work today, would address the issue of whether the individual bondhold­ers would be exempted from the programme or the terms of the programme would be adjusted to suit their request.

The decision to form the committee was announced after a closed-door meet­ing between the two parties yesterday at the Ministry of Finance in Accra.

Representatives of more than one million individual bondholders were at the meeting.

Former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, Senyo Hosi; the sector minister, Ken Ofori Atta and other officials of the ministry represented the government.

Addressing the media afterwards, Mr Ofori-Atta said the parties had an effective discussion towards working together to resolve their differences.

He stated that the programme was voluntary and although the 1.5 million individual bondholders had stated their concerns, the govern­ment was also concerned about the 30.8 million population.

The minister said in order for the country to resolve its current precarious situation with the IMF support, some groups would be affected more than others because the vulnerability was not the same.

For his part, Mr Hosi said the initial discussions had been fruitful and insisted that individual bond­holders were exempted.

The government on Monday extended the deadline for the Debt Exchange Programme to January 31, to enable it to build consensus for the programme.

The Ministry of Finance, in a tweet, said it was to enable the building of consensus for a successful economic recovery for Ghana.

The extension, which was the second since the domestic debt exchange programme was launched on December 5, last year, was effected after several groups of individual bondholders petitioned the government to exempt them from the programme.

The individual bondholders were invited to the amended programme after labour unions forced the gov­ernment to exempt pension funds from the programme.

Under the new proposal, inves­tors will be made to swap their existing cedi-denominated bonds into a package of 12 new local currency bonds, one maturing each year between 2027 and 2038.

The government will also pay ac­crued interest and a cash tender fee to holders of the local 2023 notes. Creditors in the 2023 bonds will also receive a different exchange ratio allocation, the ministry said without offering further details.

The government is also opening the offer to individual bondholders and it has set a non-binding overall minimum participation level of 80 per cent of the aggregate principal under the eligible bonds.

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