Government In Trouble As NAGRAT, GRNMA, Other Labour Unions To Go On Nationwide Strike; Send Out Strong Message in a Conference Held -DETAILS.
Labour unions in Ghana including the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) have rejected the debt operation announced by the government.
The unions say that the government’s plan to touch the pension of workers in its debt restructuring exercise is not only unacceptable but unlawful.
Speaking to the press in Accra on Monday (December 5) the President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu, said that if the government proceeds with its plan, his union and other labour unions in the country will lay down their tools.
“We enter into a contractual agreement that I am buying bonds at ‘X’ per cent. So, I have informed the beneficiaries that I have bought bonds on your behalf at this rate. All of a sudden, government who is the party on the other side of the agreement comes to say, for me, this is what I can pay, take or leave it.
“This will not be accepted, my union NAGRAT, the teacher unions do not accept this. We are members of the forum made up of the public sector unions and we want to assure our members that we will resist this move by the government,” he said.
The President of GRNMA, Perpetual Ampofo, in an interview with TV3 which was monitored by GhanaWeb, bemoaned the lack of transparency on the debt exchange programme by the government.
“If it means that we all have to lay down our tools we will do that. Because you see, we haven’t been engaged properly on this matter. What has been communicated is not something that in our view will serve the interest of the workers and our pensioners well, it wouldn’t serve them,” she said.
“… the hurtful part of this is that it is not just the government bonds but now they are touching the corporate bonds and the special purpose vehicles like the ESLA and all of that,” she added.
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.