The Convener of the Pensioner Bondholders Forum, Dr. Adu Anane Antwi, has justified the forum’s decision to petition the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) over the government’s failure to pay accrued interest on outstanding principal payments.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Citi FM on Thursday, Dr. Antwi said that the government was not treating its citizens fairly in terms of administrative justice, and that the petition to CHRAJ was an attempt to get the government to pay the interest owed.
“So we want CHRAJ to pronounce or determine whether government can keep our monies without paying interests on it,” he stated.
The Pensioner Bondholders Forum is planning to file a petition with CHRAJ regarding the government’s refusal to pay accrued interest on outstanding principal payments.
During a meeting between the forum and the Ministry of Finance, the government declined the demand for interest on the four principals.
Stating that they deemed it an administrative justice issue, Dr Antwi said the government was not different from any other borrower for which reason it was to pay the accrued interests on their outstanding principal payments.
“We are deeming it an administrative justice issue. You have taken money from your citizens, you must pay them interest while you are still keeping their money.”
“They said, for the three years you were keeping their money, you were servicing it and paying interests, it is now due and you must return it, and you have not been able to return it. And your citizens say if you are still keeping the money, pay me interest because the government is not different from any other borrower in this country,” he stated.
Dr Antwi said they will continue to picket at the Ministry of Finance every Thursday and Friday until every pesewa was paid, adding that, if CHRAJ will not support them, then they will also picket for their interests.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei Asare has implored the pensioners to temporarily halt their protest while the government actively seeks funds to fulfil its obligations.
She said 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 things, and then we will see the way forward,” she stated.