Ofori-Atta will go down in history as only Finance Minister to lead Ghana into bankruptcy – Pianim

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta
A renowned economist, Mr Kwame Pianim has criticized the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta for the way and manner he is managing the economy.

In his view, measures including the debt exchange programme introduced by the Finance Minister, clearly show that the economy is in bankruptcy.

Mr Pianim was speaking in an interview with TV3’s Paa Kwesi Asare regarding the domestic debt exchange proramme.

The Government announced that under the programme which has met strong resistance from most Ghanaians including members of the Individual Bondholders Forum (IBF), individual bondholders were to submit to a “voluntary” arrangement to exchange their domestic bonds for new benchmark bonds.

Mr Pianim who is also a founding father of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) said “For this government to allow Ken Ofori-Atta to sit in front of Ghanaians to make this proposal…

“If Ken was genuine, when the Attorney General came with his legal opinion, which in the commonwealth has the force of a high court order, he would have taken this document and gone to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). If indeed, it is the that IMF that told him to do that, I think it is unlawful, it is unconstitutional.”

He added “… Ken Ofori-Atta is saying, let us do this programme but this is badly thought out, not thought through carefully. This exchange programme is like a time bomb that Ken is putting under this economy. For the next 30 to 40 years, we are going to suffer from it. It is a time bomb because he is squeezing billions of Cedis from this economy.

“Government Instruments, T-Bills and and government bonds are risk-free, that is why insurance companies and banks are mandated not to invest in them because they are risk free.

“Ken Ofori-Atta has the unenviable reputation of going down in our history as the one who made government bonds not risk free. He will go down as the only Minister for Finance who has led to this country into bankruptcy. That is where we are.”

Meanwhile, Convener of the Individual Bondholders Forum (IBF) Senyo Hosi, has also said regarding the domestic debt exchange programme that in an unfortunate oppressive fashion, the government has shown total disregard for the contractual rights of Individual bondholders and has made no effort to structure reasonable consultations with individual bondholders.

In the process, the IBF said, Ghanaians have been presented with painfully stark, impoverishing and unsustainable choices – a situation deeply troubling and wholly untenable.
This is only possible because of the absence of effective representation and the perceived ease of oppressing a dispersed section of investors into submission,” a statement issued by Hosi said.

The Government of Ghana (GoG) announced that under its Domestic Debt Exchange (DDE) programme, individual bondholders were to submit to a “voluntary” arrangement to exchange their domestic bonds for new benchmark bonds.

This arrangement, according to IBF, irreversibly takes away the wealth and livelihoods of direct and indirect individual bondholders whose only crime has been to trust their government.

Tied to this is a mandatory deadline which compels holders to either accept the government’s offer or risk the threat of prohibitive losses, the Forum added.

It stressed “In an unfortunate oppressive fashion, government has shown total disregard for the contractual rights of Individual bondholders and has made no effort to structure reasonable consultations with individual bondholders. In the process, we have been presented with painfully stark, impoverishing and unsustainable choices – a situation deeply troubling and wholly untenable. This is only possible because of the absence of effective representation and the perceived ease of oppressing a dispersed section of investors into submission.”

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