Angel Kabonu

President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Angel Carbonu, has lashed out at the government over refusal to exempt pension funds from the Debt Exchange Program.

According to him, no legal means will restrain them from embarking on the indefinite strike come December 27.

 “I was expecting that by now the Ministry of Finance would have even withdrawn pension funds looking at the argument that is coming up and impositions that are being raised by academic and industry players. But as at now that you and I are talking, we have not heard anything from the Ministry. And we’re hearing that they want to use certain legal means to restrain us, it will not work.

“We are waiting for an announcement from the ministry that pension funds have been removed from the debt exchange program. If we do not hear that announcement we would not have a meeting, press release or anything, on the said date all workers in the public and private sector will lay down their working tools,” he said.

Speaking on Adom TV’s Badwam Show, he said that government’s expenditure for 2023 and its actions are no proof of economic hardship.

“We have given a two-week grace period for the government to give that announcement. Government claims there is hardship, its actions prove otherwise. Looking at its expenditure for 2023, government’s own behaviour does not indicate we’re in an economic crisis,” he fumed.

Mr Carbonu added that honesty from the government to Ghanaians is the way to go.

“Honestly speaking the government is not being fair to workers. If we’re in crisis in a country, let us behave as such. Sometimes if you tell Ghanaians the truth, they can rally behind you. Don’t be afraid to lose elections. The people know we’re all in the ditch together. Let us speak the facts,” he said.

Organised Labour has declared its intention to embark on an indefinite strike from December 27, 2022. The strike is due to government’s decision to include pension funds in the planned Debt Exchange Programme.

According to the Finance Minister, bondholders like pension funds, banks and insurance firms will have to exchange their bonds for one that will earn zero interest next year.

The new bonds will only begin to earn five per cent interest in 2024 and 10 per cent for the remainder of their tenure. The maturity dates have also been extended with the first bonds only maturing in 2027.