Government on right track to conclude Domestic Debt Exchange Programme on Friday – Minister

By Edward Acquah

Kwahu-Nkwatia (E/R), Feb. 9, GNA – The Government is on the right track to conclude its Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) by Friday, February 10, 2023, Mrs Abena Osei-Asare, a Deputy-Minister for Finance, has said.

She said the Government had so far achieved more than 50 per cent subscription rate for the DDEP and was focused on securing an approval from the Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by March this year.

The Minister made the remarks in a virtual presentation at the opening of the 2023 Annual Stakeholder Meeting of the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) underway at Kwahu-Nkwatia in the Eastern Region.

Mrs Osei-Asare said the Government would move to external debt holders after drawing the curtains on the DDEP.

“We are on the right track. So far we have more than 50 per cent subscription on the Domestic Debt Exchange.

“We are hoping to close everything by Friday, and then settle on Tuesday 14 of February and from there we move to the external debt holders as well,” she said.

The Government on Tuesday extended the deadline for signing up to the DDEP to Friday, February 10, 2023 – the fifth successive extension.

The extension from the February 7 deadline was to create a window for bondholders, who experienced technical glitches to complete the online processes for tendering their bonds.

Prior to that, the government had moved the deadline for signing up to the programme from December 30 of last year to January 16, then January 31 of this year.

The Government has assured the IMF of debt sustainability in order to gain creditors’ confidence in the Fund’s $3 billion loan-support programme.

This is after reaching a Staff Level Agreement with the IMF for a $3bn three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), and hopeful of an Executive and Board Management approval by the close of March 2023.

Contribution to the panel discussion virtually, Dr Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, justified the Central Bank’s decision to finance the Government’s budget deficit in 2022.

He said the economy would have plunged into cirsis earlier than it was experienced last year if the BoG had not executed the necessary interventions to cushion the economy.

Dr Addison said the BOG’s financing of the Government’s budget would no longer be necessary with the introduction of an IMF Programme.

“The financing of the Budget will not continue in 2023. That is the key plan of the agreement with the IMF to ensure that the revenue and expenditure path that is implemented in 2023 will not require Central Bank financing,” he said.

The 2023 Stakeholder Meeting of SIGA has brought together Board Chairs, CEOs of Specified Entities, and other relevant stakeholders to discuss strategic initiatives aimed at transforming the Specified Entities into high-performing organisations and ensuring they meet the President’s vision of contributing 30 per cent to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product.

The Conference, which is in accordance with Section 30 of the SIGA Act 2019 (Act 990), is on the theme: “A Time to Reflect and Rebuild”.