President Akufo-Addo has assured organised labour that the pension funds of its members are safe as government continues its Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) aimed at securing an IMF deal.
Speaking at the 2023 International Labour Day parade, he noted that government is aware of the impact of the Programme on workers and as such aimed to explore other beneficial options within debt sustainability limits with the cooperation of both Government and Organised Labour.
He said, “In undertaking the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme, we have been very mindful of its potential impact on the pension funds of workers. We will not act in any way to short-change workers in protecting their pensions.”
President Akufo-Addo added, “In this regard, within global risk management practice, the options should include diversifying the portfolio of pension funds from the current 70% in government paper to real sector investments including rail, housing, urban transportation, motorways and airport as is done by other pension funds.”
This comes after the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in April urged the Board of Trustees of pensions funds to allow for pension funds to be included in government’s new proposed debt restructuring offer.
The Minister in a signed release explained that the new proposal is aimed at alleviating the cash constraints on the government in the coming years, while fully compensating the Pension Funds for the value of their current holdings.
However, the request was met with opposition from many Ghanaians including organised labour.
GNAT stressed that the association will not back down on its agreement with the government for their pensions to be exempted.
Also speaking at the May Day parade, the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Yaw Baah again cautioned the government not to go against its promise to not include pensioners in the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.
“Mr. President please, do not touch our pension funds…Protecting pensions is our responsibility and we take it very seriously, to us, our first responsibility now is to continue to protect our pension funds from the domestic debt exchange programme.”
Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo appealed to organised labour to work urgently with government to conclude the discussions within the spirit of social partnership and burden-sharing towards addressing our economic challenges and providing a stronger base for our rapid growth and development.
“I wish to emphasise that participation in the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme, voluntary as it was, was critical for the protection of the economy, and the enhancement of our capacity to service our public debts effectively and create fiscal space for our growth and development,” the president said.
“In the midst of the current economic crisis, we cannot risk defaulting in the payment of our public debts, which would attract severe consequences – hence the debt exchange programme,” he added.
Source : myjoyonline