Ghana is asking local bondholders to accept losses on interest payments as it restructures its debt to qualify for a loan from the International Monetary Fund.
The West African country will replace existing local-currency debt with four new bonds maturing in 2027, 2029, 2032, and 2037, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said in a Facebook video post.
“The annual coupon on all these new bonds will be set at 0% in 2023, 5% in 2024, and 10% from 2025 until maturity,” he said in the video posted late Sunday on the Ministry of Information’s page. Coupon payments will be semi-annual.
“There will be no haircut on the principals of bonds,” he said on the local-debt restructuring. “External debt restructuring parameters will be presented in due course,” Ofori-Atta said.
Ghana is negotiating a $3 billion program with the IMF after being shut out of international debt markets amid a selloff of its dollar bonds that lifted yields to distressed levels. The cedi is the world’s worst-performing currency against the dollar this year, raising the cost of servicing loans.
While the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer has no dollar debt maturing until July 2023, it faces 43.5 billion cedis ($3.1 billion) in domestically-sold local-currency bonds maturing through the end of June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. On top of that, it has $663 million coupon payments on dollar debt.
Ghanaian lenders will be the most impacted by the government’s move, as they held 32% of outstanding government bonds at the end of August, the biggest chunk among investor groups, according to data from the Central Securities Depository Ghana Ltd.
The Bank of Ghana and other financial regulators will ensure that impact is “minimized,” Ofori-Atta said. He said that the government is also putting together a financial stability fund with development partners to provide liquidity support to banks, pension funds, insurance companies, fund managers, and collective investment schemes.
Treasury bills will be excluded from the local-debt restructuring to protect small investors and individuals, according to Ofori-Atta.