Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has directed the Business Committee of Parliament to summon Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to brief the House on the government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).
The directive was necessitated when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority Caucus demanded policy details on the DDEP as a result of the picketing of pensioners at the Ministry of Finance demanding exemption from the Programme.
Speaker Bagbin pledged members’ preparedness to assist the government. He said: “Parliament is ever prepared to assist the government to get out of this quagmire. So, what I can say now is that parliament has spoken and that is the end of it. The Minister must be scheduled by the business committee as early as possible because this is an urgent matter.
“After all, the pensioners are picketing at the Ministry. We need to do this as quickly as possible. Business Committee should schedule the Minister to appear before the house for a brief on the state of affairs,” Speaker Bagbin directed.
Mrs Abena Osei-Asare, a Deputy Minister for Finance guaranteed that Members of Parliament (MPs) would be updated on the current situation.
Mrs Osei-Asare told Parliament the agreement reached so far would be brought to the House. “We have mentioned that once Parliament comes through, we will come and brief the house on the steps we have taken so far.
“Parliament was in recess and it has just resumed. So, we shouldn’t jump the gun. A little patience so we do not muddy the waters out there,” she said.
The deadline for individuals and institutions to sign onto the DDEP expired on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, despite stiff opposition.
The Pensioners Bondholders Forum would for the third time this week picket at the Finance Ministry till the government excludes them from the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.
The agitated bondholders picketed on Monday and Tuesday and have threatened to continue today until the government heeds their calls.
The pensioners are demanding a total exemption from the domestic debt exchange programme.
But the Finance Minister has warned that non-participation in the DDEP by individual and pensioner bondholders would prolong the efforts by the government to revive the economy.