The Minority Chief Whip, Kwame Agbodza has said that the government intends to cancel or suspend 60 projects due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme that it is seeking to close.
Addressing a press conference in Accra on Monday, February 6, he accused the government of shrouding the negotiations in opacity.
Nobody knows what Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and the Head of the Economic Management Team Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia are negotiating for, he said.
“The government has decided belatedly to go to the IMF but the arrogance of Dr Bawumia and Ken Ofori-Atta and their opaque way of doing things is such that nobody knows exactly what they are taking to the negotiations.
“As we speak, we have a situation where Dr Bawumia and Ken Ofori-Atta are the ones, probably who know what they are negotiating. All they want is to decide that Ghanaians should pay a certain amount of money from their private sources to save, which is the issue about the debt restructuring which people are pushing against heavily.
“But the other significant part of the negotiations that are not known to Ghanaians is creating big anxiety not only in Ghana but across the globe. As I sit here, I am aware that a series of meetings have taken place with a group of people in NPP close to President Akufo-Addo where, allegedly about 60 projects and programmes are going to be either suspended or cancelled. These programmes include Obesteibi Interchange, La General Hospital, Shama, the road between Tema Motorway Roundabout and Adomi Bridge and many other projects across the country,” the Adaklu Member of Parliament said.
He added “You will be surprised that this government actually paid some of the developers 15 to 20 per cent of mobilization, these are foreign companies, they took the mobilization [but] are sitting in their offices drinking tea because the government is unable to tell them whether to go ahead because Ken Ofori-Atta says suspend all these things. So we are probably losing value because they have taken the money in terms of mobilization but they are in the office drinking tea , you can’t blame them
“What are the principles underlining the selection of the project NPP wants to cancel suspend or go ahead? Do we all need to have an understanding? I think we should.”
Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has told the visiting German Finance Minister, Christian Lindner that Ghana has taken measures to enable the country to conclude the deal with the IMF.
The president mentioned the Domestic Debt Exchange as one of the measures that have been introduced.
Mr Akufo-Addo said these when Christian Lindner called on him at the Jubilee House, Accra.
“Our main concern right now is the arrangements that we are in the process of concluding with the IMF… and the specific assistance that will be useful to us and help us fast-track the process.
“Our target is that by the middle of March, we should be before the Board for the full agreement. We have already taken one important step forward in concluding a staff-level agreement with the IMF and we are now looking to go the full haul in concluding the agreement. We are hoping that it will be done by the middle of March.
“One of the steps towards that has been the domestic debt exchange programme that we are on, which unfortunately, we have quite a lot of difficulties, but has now been virtually concluded,” he was quoted by the GNA as stating.
He further stated “We now have our relations with the Paris Club and the common framework, and we are looking for as quickly as possible a creditor committee to be established, so we will have the body with whom we can engage to bring those discussions as quickly as possible.
“We have good relations with China. We will like you to encourage China to participate in these programmes as quickly as possible…A very important consideration for us is the financial stability fund that has been promised us as one of the key outcomes of these negotiations and definitely once again, your voice in trying to bring that into being is something that we would appreciate very much.”
The government extended the deadline for the debt exchange programme to February 7, 2023, and the settlement was scheduled for February 14, 2023.
In a statement on Tuesday, the finance ministry announced amended offers for individual bondholders who have requested to be exempted.
“…all individual bondholders are free not to participate. However, upon a successful DDEP, there will be very few of the ‘old bonds’ in circulation, and likely limit its traceability,” the finance ministry said.
The amended debt exchange offers individual bondholders aged 59 and below instruments with a maturity of 5 years instead of the 15 years proposed earlier, and a 10% coupon rate.
Retirees including those retiring in 2023 will also be offered instruments with a maximum maturity of 5 years, instead of 15 years, and a 15% coupon rate, according to the statement.
The government added that discussions are ongoing with Organized Labour and Pension Fund Trustees to agree on suitable terms for their participation in the domestic debt exchange programme.
The government had reached an agreement with bodies including the Ghana Insurers and the Ghana Bankers Associations.
Under the agreement with the insurers, insurance companies will participate in the exchange on similar terms as the banks, a joint statement issued by the Ministry of Finance and the Insurers Association said on Thursday, January 26.
“The government through the solvency window of the Ghana Financial Stability Fund (GFSF) will provide support for the insurance companies that are seriously affected by the DDEP.’
“The objective is to protect jobs and the stability of the Industry,” the statement said.
Regarding the banks, per the new terms, the participation is subjected to individual bank’s internal governance and approval processes.
“This is a significant milestone towards addressing our economic challenges, and will thus help to restore macro-economic stability and accelerate Ghana’s economic growth.
“With this achievement, the Government of Ghana reiterates its commitment to concluding the DDEP in time with all other stakeholders,” a joint statement from the Finance Ministry and GAB noted.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana