The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has declared that all pensioners who declined to submit their old bonds for new ones under the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) have been exempted from the programme.

Briefing Parliamentarians on the state of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme, in Parliament House on Thursday February 16, 2023, Ken Ofori-Atta urged the pensioner bondholders some of who, were in Parliament not to be troubled as all their coupons will be honoured when they mature.

“Government remains committed to the wellbeing of our senior citizens. It has caused me great distress that a number of our pensioners have picketed at the premises of the Finance Ministry since Monday, February 6, 2023. I have already indicated in my press release dated 14th February 2023 that government will honour their coupons payments and maturing principles like all government bonds in line with government’s fiscal commitments.”

He added: “Mr Speaker, in seeking to understand the concerns of our senior citizens, I have met with them on three occasions, the recent was yesterday 15th February 2023 where I explained the terms of the new bonds. Mr Speaker, I subsequently wrote to their convener letting him know that all pensioners who did not participate in the bond offering are exempted.”

Members of the Pensioner Bondholders Forum have since Monday February 6, 2023 been picketing at the premises of the Ministry of Finance demanding a total exemption from the government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.

The group has vowed to continue to picketing until the government through the Minister of Finance expressly writes to them to confirm their exemption from the Domestic Debt Exchange Pprogramme.

Government in a statement issued on Tuesday said it had secured more than the needed 80% participation in the Domestic Debt Exchange program (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’s DDEP closed on Friday 10th February 2023 with over 80% participation of eligible bonds” the finance ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

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.