Pension bondholders have threatened to picket again

The Pensioner Bondholders Forum has notified the Ministry of Finance that it will resume picketing if all unpaid coupons and principal are not paid by Friday, April 28.

They claim that resuming their strike will “further press home our demand for the payment of all coupons and principals in arrears, as well as an end to payment delays.”

Pensioners, notably former Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, initiated a mass action against the Finance Ministry in February when their bonds were initially included in the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).Their picketing days resulted in their exclusion from the Program, making it optional for them.

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Those who chose not to participate in the DDEP, on the other hand, have reported delays in receiving their coupons and principal payments. Payment deadlines agreed upon have been missed, and some have remained unpaid. The latest date of Friday, April 21 has sparked debate as the Forum’s Convener, Dr Adu Antwi, chose to persuade members of a one-week extension.However, he stated that after meeting with the members and reporting back to the Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei Asare, through text message, the Ministry issued a news release that contained “misleading” details.

“After the meeting, the Convener sent this text message at 4:25pm to the Deputy Minister through two (2) of the Ministry’s staff who were involved in facilitating the meeting: “This is to confirm the one week extension I proposed at the meeting, to the 21st April 2023 deadline demanded by the Pensioner Bondholders Forum for the payment of outstanding coupons and principals. Please convey the confirmation to the Deputy Minister. Thanks. Dr Adu A Antwi”.

“We are therefore very much surprised and worried to note the misleading statement contained in paragraph 2 of the Ministry’s Press Release of 14th April, 2023.”

It stated that with the April 28 extension agreed upon, pensioner bondholders will be forced to start picketing at the Ministry if all payments are not completed by then.

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