By Naa Atwei Sowah
Former President John Mahama has expressed worry about the effect the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme will have on life savings of Ghanaians and the entire financial sector. President Mahama said more than six million Ghanaians are likely to lose their life savings if some adjustments are not made to the Programme to protect individual bondholders.
Speaking at Chatham House in London on the theme, “Africa’s Strategic Priorities and Global Role”, Mr. Mahama said after 66 years of Ghana’s independence, the country is currently bankrupt due to the bad economic policies of the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia Administration. He further stressed that he is not against the Debt Restructuring programme currently being implemented by the government but he is not happy that the initiative did not get adequate dialogue and consultations.
”In absolute terms, up to about six (6) million people could be deprived of their life savings and investments. Ghana’s banking and financial sector could also be under threat of insolvency if no suitable adjustments are made to the debt restructuring plans”.
”Our present economic situation, underscored by our bankrupt status, sharply contrasts with our fortunes a little over a decade ago. At the time, our economy posted some of the highest growth rates in the world with a robust and fast-growing non-oil sector”, the Former President noted.
Former President John Mahama said Ghana has to restructure its debt to revive the economy but lamented the wrong procedure adopted by the Finance Minister which, he said had led to the massive rejection of the programme by Individual Bondholders and various labour unions.
”I have indicated that we need a forensic audit into the receipts and expenditure of the COVID-19 funds in Ghana. The forensic audit may be extended to other countries in Africa to restore investor confidence as we build the Africa we want”.
”Let me add that Africa needs to build stronger institutions to address institutional and political decay. In building stronger institutions, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Africa must also be prioritized. On this note, let me commend many CSOs on our Continent that are holding governments accountable”, according to Mr. Mahama.
The former President said the government failed to heed numerous pieces of advice from the opposition on cutting down borrowing and spending scarce resources prudently. He blamed the mismanagement and recklessness of the government for the current economic crisis.