The government of Ghana is facing a strong opposition from the Civil and Local Government Staff Association (CLOGSAG) over its plan to use the pension funds of its members for debt restructuring.
The country is seeking a $3 billion dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund to revive its struggling economy. As part of the conditions for the loan, the government has to restructure its domestic debt, which includes pension funds.
Initially, the pension funds were excluded from the debt exchange programme, but the Finance Minister recently revealed that the government is in talks with labour unions to persuade them to allow their pension funds to be used for meeting certain targets.
This did not go down well with CLOGSAG, which represents workers in the civil and local government services as well as other establishments. The association was founded in 1918 in Sekondi with the aim of providing better representation and communication for government workers.
On May Day, which was celebrated under the theme, “Protecting our Pensions and Incomes Now to Avert Old Age Crisis”, the Deputy Executive Secretary of CLOGSAG Kojo Krakrani issued a stern warning to the government and any other forces that may want to tamper with their pension arrangements as stipulated in the national pension act, 2008 Act 766.
“CLOGSAG is sending a warning signal to all forces, both visible and invisible to steer clear of current pension arrangements as enshrined in the national pension act, 2008 Act 766, let those who have ears, let them hear this message.”
In a related development, the Trades Union Congress suggested that the government should abandon its National Cathedral project and convert it into a national hospital instead.
The Secretary-General of the TUC, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah said that building a cathedral to attract visitors like Notre Dame in France is not a priority for Ghana. He said that a national hospital would serve the needs of Ghanaians better.
“The president has always said he wants to create another Notre Dame in Ghana so we can attract a lot of visitors, but we disagree. In fact, comrades, it will be better to convert the project into a national hospital,” Dr Yaw Baah said. He also advised the president to reduce the size of his government, which he said has too many ministers and deputy ministers.