As the pensioner bondholders continue picketing at the Finance Ministry today over unpaid coupons, the group has renewed calls for government to borrow from the treasury bills market to pay them.
According to the pensioners, the difficulties caused by the prolonged non-payment of their coupons and principals continues to bring untold hardship on them.
Convenor of the Pensioner Bondholders Forum, Dr. Adu Anane Antwi maintains even if government incurs more debt by borrowing from the treasury bills market, it can always repay.
“Government should borrow from the treasury bill market and pay off. It will increase the debt level a bit, but it is better. The President said people who die cannot be brought back. So, borrow from the treasury bill market to pay these vulnerable groups so they can live.
“If they are starved of their own money and they can’t buy their own medication and they die, they can’t be brought back to life. But if we borrow and raise the debt level a bit, it can be resolved”, he added.
On Thursday, the pensioners resumed picketing at the Finance Ministry following the failure of the government to pay their matured coupons and principals despite the rainy weather conditions.
Three weeks ago, the pensioners held a similar protest demanding payment but suspended the picketing after it had a meeting with the Finance Ministry over their grievances.
However, after two weeks the government is yet to engage the pensioners on the way forward, with some coupons still outstanding.
Meanwhile, a Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei Asare, has made a passionate plea to the Pensioner Bondholders, urging them to exercise patience as the government scrambles to secure the necessary resources to settle them.
She emphasized that the government is not intentionally neglecting the payment of outstanding coupons. Instead, the delay is primarily caused by the unavailability of funds and the prevailing economic crisis.
“We don’t intentionally stop them, sometimes it’s difficult, it is the ability to pay and so when it is not there it becomes a challenge, but we also have to communicate that to you. So, for now, our focus should be on the five outstanding, and then we talk about how we will manage the principal payment.”
“I sincerely appreciate where you are coming from. This has never happened when coupons are ready for payment and the government is struggling to pay, but currently, we all know the circumstances we find ourselves in, so I will plead with you so let’s sit and clear, and then we will see the way forward.”