Ghana Nurses Reject Government Debt Exchange Program

The leadership of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) wishes to register its dismay and disappointment at the proposed debt exchange program as announced by the Minister of Finance on December 5, 2022.

The Association hereby states its rejection of Government’s proposal for the following reasons:

1. Pension funds are a collection of contributions of individuals. By design they are meant to protect the vulnerable during retirement. Any treatment of “individuals” as stated by the Minister of Finance must be indeed extended to all individuals as with pension funds including our GRNMA Fund, a Provident Fund for over 101,000 contributors who are nurses and midwives within the nursing and midwifery fraternity;

2. Pension funds, particularly Tier 3 schemes, were encouraged to hold their investments for a minimum of 10 years. From its inception in 2012, most schemes have just met the 10 years or will be 10 years next year. Debt exchange for pension funds will mean that workers will not have access to Tier 3 funds after waiting for 5-15 years. This is simply unacceptable!

3. By the National Pension Regulatory Authority’s (NPRA) regulations, all Pension Schemes have most of their assets in GoG securities. Trustees of these Pension Schemes were bound by regulation in the asset allocation policy by the NPRA. It will therefore be untenable for the poor worker to suffer under the proposed new bond issuance as part of the debt exchange. The government should therefore allow our Bonds to run until their maturity.

4. Pensioners should not be made to suffer the consequences of Government’s fiscal indiscipline when they have paid their fair share of taxes, worked to build the economy while taking very low salaries;

5. It is unacceptable that a Government that budgets 18% inflation in 2023 will consider zero interest rate for pension funds of poor, hardworking, law abiding citizens within the same period.

As a matter of urgency, the government must withdraw the inclusion of pension funds from its debt exchange program and allow the funds as invested to run until their maturity.




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