Balbir Allan, a Ghanaian pensioner who invested in government bonds with her husband, has revealed that she resorted to medication due to panic attacks over the fear of losing her investment. Allan and her husband invested thousands of cedis of their pension monies accrued from several years of labor in the United Kingdom, but they lost the initial investment during the banking sector collapse. This led her to advise her husband to invest in government bonds, believing they were the safest option, only for the funds to be locked up.
Allan shared her story while joining a picketing protest by bondholders at the Finance Ministry. She explained that life has become unbearable, and she now shirks her responsibilities as she cannot pay her staff and owes her housekeeper over Gh¢45,000. She also feeds several old women and pays school fees for young children. However, with her investment locked up, she cannot afford their medication, and she and her husband rely solely on his pension to survive.
Although her coupon will mature in July this year, she believes it was time to join the picketing to put pressure on the government to release the money before her coupon matures. Allan made a passionate plea to the Finance Minister, urging him to give her back her money. She emphasized that it was her money, earned through hard work in the United Kingdom, and that the government did not help her in any way. She stated that she was very attached to her money, which was essential to her and had a lot of things for her and the children she supports.
For the most part, the Pensioner Bondholders Forum last week advised the government to seek funding from the Treasury bills market to settle their matured investments. Although the government promised to pay the bondholders who were exempted from the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP), the Finance Ministry failed to make the settlement. This has led to pensioners such as Allan resorting to extreme measures to cope with the consequences of their lost investments. It is crucial for the government to fulfill its promise to the bondholders and alleviate their financial struggles.