A Deputy Minister for Finance, Abena Osei-Asare, has pleaded with members of the Pensioner Bondholders to suspend their picketing the Ministry.
According to her, the Ministry is engaging the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to ensure payment is made to members of the forum. In light of this, she requested the pensioners to exercise restraint and patience with the government, as all and sundry are aware of the financial difficulties the government finds itself.
“I sincerely appreciate where you are coming from. This has never happened when coupons are ready for payment and the government is struggling to pay; but currently, we all know the circumstances we find ourselves in, so I will plead with you so let’s sit and then we will see the way forward.”Abena Osei-Asare
Madam Osei-Asare stated that the ministry is not deliberately preventing the bondholders from picketing. However, she iterated that government is struggling with the ability to pay and that due to such financial constraints, it has become a challenge to pay outstanding coupons and principals.
“… But we also have to communicate that to you. So, for now, our focus should be on the five outstanding, and then we talk about how we will manage the principal payment.”Abena Osei-Asare
Members of the Forum resumed their picketing the Finance Ministry on Thursday, June 1, over the government’s failure to pay their matured coupons.
In a statement announcing its decision, the forum indicated that the government despite its initial agreement to pay the outstanding coupons on May 15, 2023, as conveyed in a meeting with the Finance Ministry, failed to redeem its promise. It explained that as a result, there have been two additional coupons since the agreement was made adding to the already existing coupons due.
Delayed payments on coupons and principals
The Forum stated that it wrote to the Ministry on May 15 and May 22 to demand payment and warned they would resume picketing if their payments were not made, however, they are yet to get a response.
As at 29th of May 2023, the forum revealed that there were four outstanding coupons and four outstanding principals to be paid by the Ministry. The first principal, it explained, has been outstanding for 98 days, the second for 84 days, the third for 42 days and the fourth is due today.
Additionally, the forum highlighted that it had written to the Ministry, demanding the interest on the delayed principals to be paid, as the government has deprived investors involved of their capital for re-investment to earn returns.
Following this, convenor for the Forum, Dr Adu Anane Antwi, stated that the posture of the government is appalling.
“I don’t understand why people in authority behave that way. When you are in authority and people write you a letter, at least just respond, tell them, I have received your letter, and we are working on it because if somebody wastes his time to write you, and you don’t respond, then you ask yourself, is it that you think you are not supposed to respond, or you are too busy to respond, or you think that this is not necessary.”Dr Adu Anane Antwi
Dr Antwi iterated that bondholders expected all outstanding coupon to be paid by May 15, 2023 based on a prior meeting with the ministry. Due to the agreement, he explained that the forum suspended its picketing based on these undertakings.
Prior to this, the Forum warned the government that it will not listen to any more promises should it resume picketing although its caution to government seems to have fallen on the death ears of the government.