Haruna Iddrisu, the immediate-past Minority leader in Parliament has accused President Akufo-Addo and finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta of engaging in illegality with the review of the terms of payment of bondholders.
According to him, Ken Ofori-Atta is acting unilaterally on the decisions, and he is not clothed with the power to undertake such actions.
Speaking on Metro TV, Haruna Iddrisu said that the Finance Minister should have first sought approval from Parliament before varying the terms of the government’s agreement with bondholders.
He bemoaned that the conduct of Ken Ofori-Atta, which he reckons has the backing of President Akufo-Addo, is not just illegal but also a grave disrespect to Parliament.
He warned that the house of representatives will not watch for such flippancy to thrive and that there will be consequences.
When asked if a future NDC government will prosecute Ken Ofori-Atta and all concerned for what he contends to be breached, Haruna Iddrisu failed to state a categorical answer but warned that there will be consequences.
“Ken Ofori-Atta is now varying the terms as an individual and as Minister of Finance. My argument is that he doesn’t have the power and authority to do that. I should think that he has to come back to Parliament. He is engaged in varying the terms and conditions of a loan.
”When Parliament approves a loan, it probably provided for tenure, monetarism, interest, and principal shall be paid within a certain period. Now you are saying you are issuing 12 bonds and that 2023 has no coupon and now for banks 5%. Now you say 2027 to 2038, you are varying the terms and conditions of an agreement that the Parliament of Ghana has approved.
”He came to Parliament to say give me the mandate to borrow 3 billion dollars. The Public Sector Borrowing of these Treasury Bills must all now come to Parliament. We’ve given him too much latitude and he is now walking around as if every authority is vested in him as Minister of Finance.
”He can run riot on President Akufo-Addo because he doesn’t have the will and wit to reshuffle him but he cannot do that to the republic. Take an individual bond, it is a contract between you and your bank. The sacredness of contract is being hampered and destroyed by Ken Ofori-Atta with this his ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. You can’t tell people that. The money is not your money,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government has reached some agreements with banks over the Domestic Debt Exchange program.
The new terms include “an agreement to pay a 5% coupon for 2023 and a single coupon rate for each of the twelve (12) new bonds resulting in an effective coupon rate of 9%, clarity on the operational framework and terms of access to the Ghana Financial Stability Fund (GFSF) and the removal or amendment of all clauses in the Exchange Memorandum that empowers the Republic too, at its sole discretion, vary the terms of the Exchange.”