The Christian Council of Ghana says the government’s Debt Exchange programme will have an impact on the tithes and offerings of congregants. According to the General Secretary of the Council, the programme will pose economic challenges for their congregants.
Reverend Dr Cyril Fayose, who spoke in an interview with Blessed Sogah on The Pulse on Thursday, therefore reiterated the Council’s call for the government to suspend the implementation of the said programme. Responding to whether the policy will affect collections or not, he said, “Definitely. If members cannot get their coupons [and] cannot make ends meet, it will affect the tithing and also the offering.
“So it’s important that we fight for them so that we also get our share of the tithe”. The comments by the Christian leader follow a release issued by the Christian Council in which it urged the government to suspend the Debt Exchange programme.
In the statement on Thursday, the Council said there is the need for government to engage more stakeholders on the subject matter. The Council also wants the January 31 deadline suspended for government to rather propose a roadmap for dialogue. This they say will enable a participatory process such that the outcome would be a consensus from both sides.
The statement added that a thorough engagement with stakeholders would help the government to appreciate the concerns of the affected individuals and institutions to allow for measures to be outlined to address the challenges. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has set up a technical committee to further engage individual bondholders on their inclusion in the debt exchange programme.
This follows a closed-door meeting with leaders of the Individual Bondholders Forum on Wednesday to facilitate engagement on the programme.
During the meeting on Wednesday, the Minister said the programme is a voluntary exercise. Mr Ofori-Atta said government anticipates an 80% per cent success rate. He noted that the percentage will be enough to keep the economy stable. The Minister also disclosed that government will grant some concessions to individual bondholders under the Programme.
He, however, ruled out any move to abolish the programme or grant total exemption to individual bondholders. “We are looking at a situation where maybe the zero coupons for bondholders in 2023 should be changed going forward”, he said in a yet-to-air interview with Joy Business’ George Wiafe.
Source: Paa Kwesi Schandorf