Otumfuo advises Akufo-Addo on economy

Story: Kwadwo Owusu Aduomi

Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has urged the government to be transparent with Ghanaians as the country works towards dealing with the current economic challenges.

“Our debt level has become unsustainable pushing the government to roll out a domestic debt exchange programme that aims to restructure the nation’s debt and ensure some fiscal space for the country to operate”.

He said, “sadly it appears public consultation did not take place before the programme commenced. The nation is currently in a tense mood even though government has announced the completion of the programme. I want to implore government to demonstrate high level of transparency and be candid in these difficult times in order to win the trust and confidence of the general public”.

He further called on government to bring together best brains with the requisite expertise from the various political parties, academia and civil society organisations to present an excellent proposal to help Ghana secure a bailout that would be beneficial to all.

“Government should be more accommodating and reach out to those who may even oppose them politically, the interest of the country is paramount, and we must all work together to prevent the collapse of the economy. No one can pretend not to see the difficult times that we find ourselves in. But at the same time I want to encourage all of us to keep hope alive”.

Otumfuo Osei II said, “as we move to negotiate with our external creditors, I urge government to bring together the best brains with the requisite expertise from all political perspectives to present the finest proposal so that whatever decision the country chooses will be everyone’s responsibility”.

Speaking at the 56th congregation at KNUST, the Asantehene encouraged Ghanaians to ensure judicious use of resources in order not to overburden the economy.

“The current economic difficulties should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to carefully review our economy and implement some significant adjustments. The moment has come for us to reduce wasteful spending and direct resources towards economically productive areas in order to improve the quality of life of our people,” Otumfuo Osei Tutu II entreated.

The voluntary debt exchange programme seeks to tackle the current economic crisis, bring back macroeconomic stability and guarantee sustainable growth.

According to Ofori-Atta, not executing the domestic debt exchange programme would have brought “grave disorder” in its ability to service the country’s ballooning national debt and exacerbated the current economic crisis.

On Wednesday, March 15, government commenced payments of outstanding coupons to individual bondholders who failed to participate in the Domestic Debt Exchange programme.

In a statement, the coalition of Individual Bondholders confirmed the payments of matured coupons to its members but called on the Ministry of Finance to review its communication management and reposition it for proactive engagement with creditors as is professionally expected.

“While we welcome the commencement of payments, it is important to note that the failure to be definite
about a payment schedule or a notification date for outstanding payments does not augur well for the
rebuilding of confidence in the financial market.”

This came after the Coalition of Bondholders gave the government a 48-hour ultimatum to pay all their outstanding coupons or face their wrath.

President Nana Addo Dankwa-Akufo-Addo has called on the Diplomatic Corps to help Ghana’s bid for a $3 billion bailout at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Addressing members of the Diplomatic Corps at the Peduase Lodge on March 1, the President said with the cooperation received from the Paris Club, he is confident that the IMF deal will finally be concluded by the end of March.

“Just as we managed to achieve a staff-level agreement with the Fund in record time in December last year whose terms were systematically fulfilling including the difficult but ultimately highly successful process of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme, I am confident that with the cooperation we have received from the members of the Paris Club and the People’s Republic of China, which sent a delegation from China’s EXIM Bank to Accra over the weekend to meet with officials of the Ministry of Finance, we shall be able to go to the Board of the Fund to conclude finally the agreement by the end of March,” he said.

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