Minority Issues Another Empty Threat
Some Ghanaians appear to have had enough of the continuous threat by the Minority in Parliament, following its latest warning that it will not accept the debt restructuring programme announced by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
On the lips of many on the streets, the threat by the minority, even though unnecessary, is simply a ploy to appease their supporters.
It is believed that, in the midst of economic crisis, they will unite with their colleagues on the Majority side to approve the programme, just as they did on previous occasions, instead of playing to the gallery.
“They are just blowing hot air, nothing will come out of this threat by minority leadership… It’s empty. This is what they have been doing since this hung Parliament started,” one Sammy Kyereh told this paper, after the minority press conference yesterday.
According to the Minority Caucus, the policy is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to proceed, hence they will not endorse it.
At the a press conference in Accra yesterday, December 5, the Minority leader and Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South constituency, Haruna Iddrisu, who addressed the media, said his side will use every legitimate means to oppose the move.
“Let me state without any fear of contradiction that the form and structure of the debt restructuring announced by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta this morning are unacceptable to us and we simply will not accept it.”
The Tamale South lawmaker also questioned why the 2023 budget was silent on this policy.
“I want to ask how come this debt restructuring was not included in the 2023 budget?” the outspoken politician added.
But this did not go down well with a section of the public, who believe the National Democratic Congress (NDC) minority group cannot be taken seriously, because there are enough examples in the past to show that they cannot carry through their threats.
They say the charade periodically played in the august house is all a ploy by the Minority side to look as though they are unblemished and have Ghanaians at heart, but, deep down, they are all after their personal interests.
The unimpressed Ghanaians recalled for example in the past when the Minority threatened not to approve the reappointment of Mr. Ofori-Atta and other ministers, they ended up approving all of them in spite of their threat.
Indeed, some of the ministers who the minority group had claimed they will not approve rather garnered more votes than the others who had no issues about their appointments.
“You trust these guys at your own peril. They always come out with these tricks, but go back to eat their vomits. I am sure only their supporters will take these threats,” one Mic Mensah told The Anchor.
One Ivy Edem said sarcastically “I am adopting the wait-and-see attitude because these guys are fond of issuing empty threats.”
A few others also recalled the example of the brouhaha that greeted the 1.75 percent electronic transaction levy, popularly known as E-levy, and which resulted in a brawl on the floor of Parliament.
Recall that the same Minority MPs in Parliament had threatened to reject the new taxes that were announced by the Finance Minister in the 2021 budget presentation but, in the end, the taxes were approved.
Some MPs were hurt in the process, but it was passed into law later after the Minority staged a walkout.
Mention is also made of the controversial censure motion initiated, yet again, by the Minority against Mr. Ofori-Atta, which was expected to be carried out within days, but is still hanging in Parliament, long after the Speaker’s committee presented its report.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta on Sunday, December 4, announced the government’s domestic debt exchange programme.
These measures, he explained, include some exemptions and external debt restructuring parameters that will be implemented.
Per his release, treasury bills and individual bondholders will not be affected by this exercise.
However, domestic bondholders will be compelled to exchange their instruments for new ones.
“Existing domestic bonds as of December 1, 2022, will be exchanged for a set of four new bonds maturing in 2027, 2029, 2032 and 2037.
“The annual coupon on all of these new bonds will be set at 0% in 2023, 5% in 2024 and 10% in 2025 until maturity.
“Coupon payments will be semi-annual,” the minister said, assuring that there will be no “haircuts” on the principal of bonds.