All outstanding bonds which matured on February 6 will be paid after February 21, the Minister Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta has assured.
Government defaulted on the payment of those bonds.
“Settlements will be made after Tuesday, February 21 and then we can begin to look at processing everybody’s bonds,” the Minister assured the pensioner bondholders on Friday when they met to thank him for exempting them from the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.
The Minister explained that the delay in payment had been occasioned by the processing of coupon payments
He however, reiterated that the government was working to ensure that every bondholder was paid their coupons and principal upon maturity of their bonds and urged the bondholders to remain calm.
Convener of the Pensioner Bondholder Forum, Dr Adu Anane Antwi thanked the Ministry of Finance for finally exempting pensioner bondholders from the Domestic Bond Exchange Programme (DDEP).
Dr Antwi confirmed receipt of the letter granting the exemption request.
“We are here to express our sincere thanks to the Minister for granting us our request. We have received the letter as he said in Parliament and we thought that it was appropriate to appreciate the move,” the Convener told the Minister and the press on Friday.
He had requested that the Finance Minister issues an official statement indicating that pension funds had been exempted from the debt swap programme.
Dr Antwi had lamented that, the lack of an authoritative response from the issuer to the petition of pensioners to be exempted from the programme was worrying as the deadline for the DDEP had also elapsed with the Ministry confirming some 85% participation.
On his part, the Finance Minister, stressed that “our respect and honour for our senior citizens have never been in question,” adding that there was no intention at all to take anyone’s money or investment from them.
According to the Minister, there was no misunderstanding in a sense that the state was looking to taking anyone’s money from them compulsorily, so “whether retiree or pensioner we all need to get it clear that the Debt Exchange Programme was not coercive but always remained voluntary for people to make their decisions whether to join the programme or not.”
The Minister regretted the picketing of pensioners at the Ministry’s premises, describing it as “ unfortunate,” and thanked the pensioner bondholder forum, “for the engagement over the period.”
Mr Ofori Atta gave assurance that government was still taking measures to cut its expenditure as its contribution to the sacrifices being made and the burden-sharing process.
He stated in Parliament on Thursday that government will not punish any bondholder who decided not to participate in the DDEP.
“Nobody will be punished. All coupons will be honoured in the same way the contracts were signed,” the Minister said.