The Pensioner Bondholders Forum has blamed securities regulators for the current state of affairs with regard to the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).
Speaking at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Breakfast meeting on Tuesday on the theme “Domestic Debt Exchange: Lessons and implications on how you invest”, Dr. Adu Anane Antwi said that none of the securities regulators protected the interest of investors in government securities during discussions on the DDEP.
According to him, the government is an issuer of security therefore “people holding government securities must be protected” by those mandated to regulate the sector.
“The fact that government securities will not go through regulations for approval before issuance does not mean people who are holding that document should not be protected,” he added.
He noted that there is no way confidence can be built in the investment space if the regulators fail to act.
“We can’t bring back any public confidence when the regulators are sitting down and they don’t want to act,” Dr. Anane Antwi stressed.
However, the Securities and Exchange Commission says it has been engaging government on ways to protect investors.
According to the Director General, Rev Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, investor protection comes in different forms.
“Sometimes people tend to look at one aspect and it is not everything that you may even get out in the public domain. So for instance, if the regulator is advising maybe the sector ministry, it may not be something that may come out.
“But apart from that, if you take licensing, it is one of the ways we protect to make sure that those who come to the space to operate are fit and proper. It’s a way by which you do that protection.
It would be recalled that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, launched the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme in early December 2022 as part of efforts to meet the conditionalities required by the International Monetary Fund.
However, the Minister struggled to convince bondholders to register, due to a lack of clarity regarding the programme’s terms and profitability.
The programme’s initial deadline for participation by bondholders was December 19. However, due to the failure to reach an agreement, it was adjourned to December 30, 2022.
The deadline was once again extended to January 16, 2023, in order to “secure internal approvals” from the financial sector, but it was further adjourned to a final date of February 10, 2023.
During this period, there were series of picketing and demonstration by various groups and unions to register their displeasure over being compelled to be part of the DDEP.
The notable one was the group of pensioners who picketed in front of the Finance Ministry for one week.
They were joined by the former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo. They successfully got their plea heard and government excluded them from the debt exchange.
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