Domestic Debt Exchange Programme: Exclude pension funds …TUC urges govt

The Trades Union Congress and its affiliate national unions have called for an exclusion of pension funds from the proposed domestic debt exchange programme from the government.

They explained that the programme if allowed to progress would negatively affect pension funds of members and conse­quently, their retirement income security.

This was contained in a press statement signed by the Director General of the TUC, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, in Accra yesterday.

“We have already dispatched a letter to the Minister of Finance demanding that all pension funds invested in government bonds should be completely exempted from the domestic debt exchange programme,” he explained.

He disclosed that the TUC had given the government a one-week ultimatum to exclude all pension funds, including the So­cial Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) funds, are exempted from the debt exchange programme.

On the taxation introduced in the 2023 budget, he said the increase in the value added tax (VAT) by 2.5 per cent and the maximum personal income tax margin from 30 to 35 per cent would negatively affect the income of the average Ghanaian.

He said “these taxes will obviously hurt poor people and workers on fixed and low incomes because, as usual, businesses will pass on their share of the additional tax burden onto consumers,” and must be scrapped.

On the freeze in public sector employ­ment, he said the government’s decision to put a hiring freeze on the public sector was a “stab in the back of young Ghanaians who have been educated at great costs to their families and to the nation.”

Dr Baah queried the importance of the Free Senior High School policy by govern­ment if there were no jobs for the gradu­ates.

He added that the employment freeze would negatively affect public service de­livery as thousands of workers retire every year and government failed to replace them in-turn overburdening existing workers.

On public sector pay, he tasked the gov­ernment to significantly increase the salaries of all workers as the surge in inflation had completely eroded the purchasing power of workers, especially those in the public service.

Dr Baah added that the value of the cost-of-living-allowance (COLA) granted in July 2022 had been completely wiped out whilst workers on the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) were receiving the lowest salaries in the public sector.

On the salaries of State-Owned En­terprises (SOEs), he revealed that the government’s decision to impose a cap on salary adjustment of SOEs to be lower than negotiated base pay increase was not the problem but the fact that salaries on the Single Spine Salary Structure were unjusti­fiably low.

Dr Baah underscored the need for the government to develop a more sustainable solution that would lead to the increase of salaries on the single spine structure to match salaries on the structures being implemented by the SOEs for their staff hence the need for the single spine struc­ture to not be the standard for resetting salaries in the public sector.


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