DDEP: It’s unreasonable to continue protesting – Ofori-Atta tells Pensioners

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The ongoing demonstrations by pensioners bondholders at the Finance Ministry against the government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) have been judged inappropriate by Ken Ofori-Atta, minister of finance.

The government will uphold its duties to bondholders, even retirees who voluntarily chose not to participate in the scheme, he claims, adding that the voluntary exercise has come to an end.

The group has been demonstrating outside the Finance Ministry for the last eight days, demanding that the government not include them in the domestic debt swap.

The picketing is no longer necessary, according to the Finance Minister, who spoke to pensioners on February 15.

“Really, there is no reason for us to be sitting here because that assurance has been given on paper. I want to know what it is that you are afraid of or that you think will not happen. My issue is that now you have very little of the old bonds existing. This means that, in the event of a crisis, your ability to trade your papers is diminished. But that is the choice you made,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.

While Mr. Ofori-Atta was speaking to the protesting pensioner bondholders, mayhem broke out.

Oliver Barker-Vormawor, the organizer of the pressure group #FixTheCountry, who had come to support the picketers who were accusing the Minister of being unreliable, stopped his conversation.

The Minister became enraged by this interruption, and his security then escorted him away.

“It is important because our conversation has been about building a protest culture. A culture where persons affected by public policy decisions by political officers do not sit aside but raise their voice and match that voice  with the determination to show up when it matters.”

“When these things are happening, it is also important that persons are inspired by this in the spirit of resilience. So with what these pensioners have shown, it is important that we the young ones also show up for them by mobilizing people to carry forward the message of resistance expressed even with their age”, Barker-Vormawor emphasized.

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