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Debt restructuring: Your pension funds are already gone – Dr Baah to labour unions

Dr Amoako Baah, a senior member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has told labour unions, who have warned the government not to touch their pension funds in the debt restructuring exercise, that their funds have already been used.

According to him, the government has touched all funds that are at its disposal including the Heritage Funds which is not supposed to be touched.

Speaking in a TV3 interview monitored by GhanaWeb, Dr Baah added that the country is at this point because the government has been running the economy on borrowed funds.

“They are saying the government should not touch their money, I’m sorry to inform them that the money is gone. It has already been touched.

“All of them (the funds) have been touched. Heritage fund is not supposed to be touched – gone long ago. They have touched it already. It is gone. We are living on borrowed money for a long time (internally and externally), (and) now it has caught up with us,” he said.

Dr Baah, a former lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, also berated the government for its handling of the debt restructuring programme it is undertaking.

He said that the government should have engaged all the stakeholders who will be affected before announcing its Debt Exchange programme.

“This is a national emergency. It is not what the president said that we are in critical circumstances. (We are in a national emergency). And national emergencies should not be left only to the finance minister to decide how to fix the problem.

“If they (the government) are responsible, this is what they will do, call all the agencies with funds that have been touched,” he said.

Labour unions in Ghana including the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) and the University Teachers Association (UTAG) have asked the government not to apply a “haircut” to Tier 2 Pension Funds as part of the debt restructuring programme it has announced.

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced a number of measures under the government’s Domestic Debt Exchange (DDE) programme.

He stated in a 4-minute address on Sunday, December 4, that the announcement was in line with the government’s Debt Sustainability Analysis as contained in the 2023 budget he presented to Parliament on November 24.

The minister laid out, among other things, the exchange of existing domestic bonds with four new ones, as well as their maturity dates and terms of coupon payments.

He also addressed the overarching goal of the government relative to its engagements with the International Monetary Fund as well as measures to minimize the impact of domestic bond exchange on different stakeholders.

“The Government of Ghana has been working hard to minimize the impact of the domestic debt exchange on investors holding government bonds, particularly small investors, individuals, and other vulnerable groups,” he said, before outlining three main measures:

• Treasury Bills are completely exempted and all holders will be paid the full value of their investments on maturity.

• There will be NO haircut on the principal of bonds.

• Individual holders of bonds will not be affected.

Watch Dr Baah’s interview below:

 

Source: ghanaweb.com

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