Ghana reaches deal with insurers on domestic debt exchange

Ghana's Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta speaks during a news conference in Accra
Ghana's Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta speaks during a news conference in Accra, Ghana December 13, 2022. REUTERS/Cooper Inveen

ACCRA, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Ghana has reached an agreement with the country's insurers on a domestic debt exchange, taking it closer to completing this programme, a key factor in restoring economic stability and growth, the finance ministry said on Thursday.

The ministry said in a joint statement with the Ghana Insurers Association (GIA) that under the agreement, insurance companies will participate in the exchange programme on similar terms as banks.

"The GIA is happy to reach a deal with the Government that protects its members, but also enabling the Government to push through the necessary economic reforms at this difficult time."

Ghana's economy is struggling to recover from the pandemic and is trying to restructure its mountain of debt to access a relief package from the International Monetary Fund.

It needs around 80% of bondholders to sign up for its domestic debt exchange programme, which has faced resistance among individual bondholders due to lack of clarity about its terms.

The government said on Monday it had agreed with banks to pay a 5% coupon on its 2023 bonds, which the original debt exchange plan had said would not pay interest.

All other restructured bonds will pay 9% coupons, rather than the variable rates originally outlined, the deal with the banks said.

"The Government through the solvency window of the Ghana Financial Stability Fund (GFSF) will provide support for the insurance companies that are seriously affected by the debt exchange programme," the joint statement with the insurers said.

Reporting by Christian Akorlie; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jane Merriman

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