Randy Abbey, host of Good Morning Ghana programme on Metro TV has questioned the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta’s recent use of a terminology ‘help me, let me help you.’
The minister used the phrase whiles meeting with picketing bondholders at the premises of the Ministry of Finance earlier this week.
The group, made up of pensioners, demanded that government exempts them totally from the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) which subscription was supposed to end on February 7 but has been extended to February 10.
Randy Abbey is of the view that Ofori-Atta does not have the gravitas to make such a comment because of his role in the economic mess that the country is facing.
“I am an individual bondholder, you as government have run us into this ditch. You are putting your hand into my pocket to take my savings and you are telling me that I should help you for you to help me, how are you going to help me?” he quizzed on the show, February 6, 2023.
In defense of the minister, a New Patriotic Party lawmaker, Sylvester Tetteh said, the import of the statement was that “we own this country together, whatever you own today rightfully so, you are called upon to voluntarily surrender it so that we can have stability.”
Randy Abbey cut in explaining that he understood the statement but he was infuriated when he heard it from Ofori-Atta.
“I understand the ‘help me to help you’ statement but help me in what sense? You run me into a ditch, you say you are going to help me, help me how?” he questioned.
What Ofori-Atta told pensioners
“Government has evaluated all bonds and realised some have an average coupon rate of 18.5 percent of which some will reach maturity beyond five years, but we all are aware of the current economic condition of the country and these bonds could run at zero percent should we not secure IMF deal,” the Minister said.
He added that instead of maturing bonds running at a zero percent interest rate, the government has decided to pay 15 percent of the supposed 18 percent which it cannot meet.
But according to the convener of the Pensioner Bondholders Forum, the livelihoods of pensioners are dependent on bond investment in that anything that affects those bonds will push pensioners into early graves.