TUC Threatens Public Sector Shutdown If…
Workers across the country, under the umbrella of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), have threatened a public sector shutdown if government fails to exempt pension funds from its current Debt Exchange Programme (DEP).
According to the TUC, having analysed the programme, they realized that it will negatively impact on the pensions of its members, vis-à-vis the security of their retirement income security.
As a result, it has given government a one-week ultimatum to exempt all pension funds from the programme.
Speaking at a press conference held in Accra, yesterday, December 12, the General-Secretary of the TUC, Dr. Anthony Yaw Baah, said, “We expect all workers and unions to join us and be ready to participate fully in any industrial action to protect our pension fund.”
“……We have analysed the debt exchange programme and after a thorough analysis of the programme and a very extensive discussion among the leadership of TUC and affiliates, our conclusion is very firm. And it is that the programme will negatively affect the pension funds of our members and consequently their retirement income security,” he stated.
He disclosed that the union has sent a letter to the Minister of Finance to demand that: “All pension funds invested in government bonds should be completely exempted from the debt exchange programme.”
He said, “Within one week from today, government should publicly announce that all pension funds including SSNIT are exempted from the debt exchange programme.”
He added: “If government fails to accede to our demand, within one week, we’ll advice ourselves.”
He said, “According to the Minister of Finance, the Domestic Debt Operation, as they call it, involves an exchange for new Ghana Bonds with coupons of a longer average maturity.
“Existing Domestic Bonds, as of 1st December 2022, will be exchanged for a set of four new bonds maturing in 2027, 2029, 2032, and 2037. Somebody said the government is shifting economic stability to 2037.”
The TUC General-Secretary noted that, “the annual coupon on all these new bonds will be set at 0 percent in 2023, 5 percent in 2024 and 10 percent from 2025 until till maturity.
“We’re talking about inflation of 40.4 percent and you’re fixing coupon rates at 0 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent.”
He quizzed: “So if your coupon rate is 5 percent, after 6 months do you know how much they’ll pay you, 2.5 percent.”
Referring to the TUC’s earlier press statement rejecting the government’s debt exchange programme, the TUC General-Secretary stressed that upon a thorough analysis of the programme, the leadership of the union spotted some deficiencies.
The TUC boss stated that “Already, pension is low and we will have thought that our government will do everything to protect even the small pension that we have, instead, they are introducing programmes inspired by IMF, to cut further pension incomes and as we used to say, ‘We no go sit down’.”
The General Secretary continued that: “The TUC and all our affiliates have decided and this is a very firm decision that the pension fund of our members will not be part of the domestic debt exchange programme.”