By Edzorna Francis Mensah
The Minority in Parliament has called for the immediate suspension of the planned Domestic Debt Exchange Programme to protect the economy from total collapse as they fault the NPP government mismanagement.
The Minority has since demanded a more comprehensive consultation on the matter with all stakeholders and the Ghanaian people.
Speaking at a Media Encounter for the year in Parliament, on Wednesday,16th January 2023, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu asked the government to engage “all stakeholders for a National Dialogue on the State of our economy and Debt Exchange Programme with the view to achieving the more workable and least punitive steps that protect Ghanaians and Ghanaians households from disastrous effects of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme as currently designed.”
He said, the Domestic Debt Exchange Programs if implemented in its current form and shape, will create extreme hardships for millions of Ghanaians and existing financial institutions.
”It is also quite clear, that it was entirely avoidable had the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government heeded to wise Counsel from the opposition and Civil Society on prudent management of our finances and economy”.
For instance, “the 2023 budget projects a primary surplus of only 1% which means that we will be reducing the public debt by only 1% of GDP this year.
This also means that not enough expenditure cuts are being made by the government at a time when it is almost forcibly asking bondholders to forfeit interest and principal payments due them.”
The Minority demanded further demonstrations of responsibility from the government through more substantial cuts in non-essential expenditure and “a reduction in the humongous size of
Mr. Haruna said, the inclusion of individual bondholders in the DDE is the biggest transfer of funds from the pockets of Ghanaians to the government and “will leave affected persons, mainly the middle class, impoverished while worsening the plight of the poor. This must immediately be stopped”.
On the state of the economy, Haruna Iddrisu stressed the fact that an unsustainable public debt on which Ghana has defaulted, “a rapidly depreciating currency, hyperinflation, rising interest rates, and an excruciating cost of living crisis resulting in considerably harsher economic conditions which has led to mass suffering of Ghanaians are but a few of the symptoms of the economic collapse”.