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DDE: Labour holds government to ‘exemption to all pension funds’ promise

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Dr. Yaw Baah, Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress

Organised Labour on Wednesday reiterated it will stick with a promise by the government to exempt all pension funds from its Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDE).

It will thus not participate, nor permit the inclusion of any of its Pension Schemes in any Domestic Exchange Programme, according to a resolution passed by Organised Labour and contained in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.

According to Organised Labour, per an agreement it signed with the Government of Ghana on Thursday, 22nd December, 2022, the non-inclusion of pension funds in the programme was final.

It therefore served notice that it will fiercely resist any attempt to go contrary to that position.

They say Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, signed the said agreement on behalf of the Government while Dr. Anthony Yaw Baah, Secretary General of TUC, signed on behalf of Organised Labour, paragraph 1 of which stated as follows:

“Organised Labour hereby reiterates that, this position is FINAL as far as involvement of Pension Funds in the DDEP is concerned. By this, Organised Labour and ALL our Pension Schemes are not participating in any DDE Programme as per the aforementioned exemption from Government.

“Any contrary communication or position is alien to us and should be dismissed by all well- meaning Ghanaians. Any attempt to go contrary to this agreement will be fiercely resisted by Organised Labour.

Organised Labour therefore assured “all workers of Ghana” it will continue to safeguard their interest at all times.

The Government on Tuesday extended its deadline for the DDEP yet again for one week, indicating that the new deadline for all bondholders to enrol onto its programme is now February 7. The previous deadline was 4pm of January 31.

Following what the Finance Ministry said were indications from its meeting with stakeholders based on an agreement reached with the Ghana Association of Banks (GAB), Ghana Insurers Association (GIA), and the Ghana Securities Industry Association (GSIA), new terms of the exchange had been accepted and that a revised and final Exchange Memorandum would be released by Thursday, February 2, 2023.

Government had also indicated that while it affirmed that all individual bondholders were free not to participate in the programme, there would be very few of the ‘old bonds’ in circulation, which will likely limit their tradability upon a successful Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.

Government therefore offered some concessions in an attempt to encourage all individual bondholders to participate in the Exchange, which concessions included that all individual bondholders below the age of 59 years would be offered instruments with a maximum maturity of five years, instead of 12 years, and a 10% coupon rate.

Again all retirees (including those retiring in 2023) would be offered instruments with a maximum maturity of five years, instead of 12 years, and a 15% coupon rate.

The government said it was finalising discussions with Organised Labour and Pension Fund Trustees, on a separate arrangement in accordance with the MoU with Organised Labour on December 22, last year and in line with government’s debt management Programme.

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