Ghana’s bid to get out of an economic crisis has pushed the government to tinker with the savings of the country’s pensioners, triggering protests and picketing of some pensioner bondholders.
The government’s hope to qualify for $3bn (£2.5bn) in IMF bailout money requires it to readjust its investment bonds, to be able to bring the country’s debt to a sustainable level.
The government desperately needs a deal with the IMF by the end of next month ,as the country faces its worst economic crisis in decades.
Pensioners who have invested in the government’s bond fear they could lose their money or part of it.
To reassure the investors, Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has said that individual pensioners who had invested in the bonds will be exempted from the country’s Domestic Dept Exchange Programme.
The minister told parliament on Thursday that the interest on the investments including principal amounts would be paid when the date is due.
But the problem is that pensioner bonds that matured in early February were not paid. The government is seeking to exchange the bonds for new ones with a 3.5% cut on the return of their investment including deferred date of payment due to the risk of default. The finance ministry also indicated that it was voluntary for them to accept.
The minister was summoned to parliament to explain the reasons for not exempting the pensioner bondholders. His ministry on Tuesday indicated that it had achieved 85% participation in the programme, though analysts are casting.