Business & Finance

Sophia Akuffo Shows Up Again At Finance Ministry Picketing

Former Ghanaian Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo has for the second time participated in the protest against the inclusion of the pensioner bondholders funds in the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).

On her first appearance on Friday, February 10, she held a placard that read, “We use our bond yields to pay our rents, medical bills, electricity bills and water bills”.

In an interview later with the media, she described the DDEP as “disrespectful, wicked, unlawful and wrong”.

The 73-year-old said, “you don’t solve your problem by sacrificing your aged- That’s the last thing we should do especially when we don’t have services that are specially geared at the comfort and relief of the aged.

“The National Insurance system has virtually collapsed. The elderly are buying their medications at normal commercial prices and a lot of people have told me that they have timed the way they did their investment so that at least every month there is something for them to cover their medical bills.”

She was applauded by a section of Ghanaians for her move, however, got a jab from Gabby Otchere Darko, a leading member of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and a relative.


In a series of tweets, Gabby said Sophia “erred big time” when she joined the protest.

He believes instead of picketing the Finance Ministry as the group has been doing for some days and continues to do, it should rather abstain from the Programme.

“Rather than asking the Govt for exemption at this late hour, why did she simply not ‘exempt’ herself from exchanging her original bond for the new one! Why picket over something you don’t like (the improved offer) when you have the right not to sign up? Sorry, but I struggle to get her emotional outburst over exemption!”

On Monday which marked the six day of the protest, Sophia failed to show up, however on Tuesday, she did and held a placard reading, “Pensioners deserve compassion not compulsion”.

Reacting to the statements from Gabby, she pointed out, “Gabby Otchere Darko can call me paranoid. I don’t care. We are talking about people, we are talking about human beings, we are talking about people who have served this country. They have served well and served hard, not easy service. When you are not a member of government and you are calling yourself a member of government.”

On her decision to join the protest, she said, “he {Gabby} doesn’t decide for me what I need to do and what I don’t need to do. It’s as simple as that. I don’t have time for that. People like that are not important to me or my life. He’s a disturbance, that’s all I’ve got to say about it”.

She indicated that the DDEP would derail the trust of Ghanaians in government bonds.

She is of the view that there is a deliberate effort by the government to turn a deaf ear to their demands.

Individual bonds were included in the government’s DDEP- a programme developed to bring Ghana’s debt to a sustainable level in order to earn an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout- when pension funds were excluded.

Although the government has modified the programme in such a way that all retirees- including those retiring in 2023- will be offered instruments with a maximum maturity of 5 years at a 15% coupon rate, the pensioner bondholders say they want a total exclusion from the Programme.

The Finance Minister seems to have taken an entrenched stance against the demand of the group.

In a press statement on February 14, Ken Ofori Atta said the offer was voluntary for individual bondholders and therefore those who wished could self-exempt.

He also assured that the government will honour coupon payments and maturing principals for individual bondholders who refused to participate in the DDEP.


Source: Fuseini

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