Dr Johnny Andoh-Arthur, a Social and Community Psychologist, has advised bondholders to look up to a “Higher Being”- (God) while working out practical strategies to confront the difficult times likely to be caused by Government’s Domestic Debt Exchange (DDE) Programme.
He has also urged friends and relatives of the bondholders to provide them with critical social, informational, material, and emotional support to navigate their way through the “stormy waters”.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday, Dr Andoh-Arthur advised individual bondholders to prioritise their lives and take good care of themselves by building resilience to buffer the negative impact of the economic downturn.
“Let’s feed our minds on positive things, do a lot of physical exercises, eat healthy diets, maintain good social networks, live prudently, and diversify our investments. We must also report signs of adverse health conditions, be it physical or psychological to the nearest hospital for urgent help.”
Dr Andoh-Arthur encouraged the bondholders to come together as a body to engage Government, whilst being hopeful and trusting that something good would come out of a collective engagement.
“This is the time we should see the meaning in the expression, ‘United we stand, divided we fall’. No single individual bondholder can meaningfully engage the whole machinery of government on the way forward,” he said.
He urged Government to engage the bondholders on the best way forward to yield a win-win outcome for all in the implementation of the Programme.
Dr Andoh-Arthur, also a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, University of Ghana, said in times of economic downturn, Governments were obliged to provide safety nets for citizens, especially the most vulnerable, but in cases when Government was being perceived to go after individual’s own ‘safety nets’ in a manner as was being done with the DDE, it could lead to agitations that may have national security implications.
“Let’s remember that we had banking sector crisis that created its own problems. This was followed by COVID-19 and its attendant health, social and economic impacts. The cumulative effects of these two issues are still lingering both at the individual and population levels. What the people need is a period to recover from all these shocks. We do not need to impose further burdens while admittedly, we all need to rally behind the Government to steer us out of this situation,” he said.
The Domestic Debt Exchange Programme is an invitation to bondholders to exchange certain domestic notes and bonds of the Republic of Ghana, E.S.L.A. Plc, and Daakye Trust Plc (collectively, the “Eligible Bonds”), for new bonds.
The Invitation to Exchange is an arrangement through, which holders of Eligible Bonds will submit their holdings of Eligible Bonds governed by Ghanaian law and denominated in Ghanaian Cedis (GHS) for new benchmark Government of Ghana bonds with the same aggregate principal amount, and which have in the aggregate a lower average coupon and extended average maturity than the Eligible Bonds.
This transaction is an essential element of the Government’s economic reform programme being undertaken and for which the Government is seeking support from the International Monetary Fund and other development partners.