The Ministry of Finance and the whole government of Ghana have been warned by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) to drop any intentions to categorize the pension funds of its members for the Domestic Debt Exchange Program (DDEP).
The Association states that any attempts to integrate the GMA Pension Funds in the Program “must be vigorously rejected with very drastic steps that will undoubtedly disturb the industrial harmony throughout the nation.”
These were detailed in a news release that was released on February 9—the day before the Program’s last deadline—on Thursday.
Even though the government and Organized Labor agreed to exempt all pension funds from the Program, there are indications that some retirement benefits are being reclassified to be covered by the Program.
The National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA)-regulated funds will be the only ones designated as pension funds, according to reports. This is allegedly included in the second amended and restated exchange memo.
However, GMA maintains that its pension fund, established in 2002, was established before the National Pensions Act of 2008 (Act 766) and is the only inducement that keeps doctors in Ghana.
“It has since its inception operated as a Pension Fund with benefits paid out only upon retirement as per the trust deed,” the statement jointly signed by President Frank Serebour and Titus Beyuo said.
“No withdrawal is permitted before retirement.
“It is also instructive to note that the GMA’s Pension Fund does not give loans or overdrafts.”
According to the contract between the government and the Secretary-General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) last year, doctors’ pensions were also exempt.
Following this, the GMA Pension Fund is properly exempt from and is not included in the current DDE Program.
“The GMA takes this opportunity to strongly caution the Ministry of Finance and government for that matter, and in no uncertain terms that any attempt to reclassify the GMA’s Pension Fund as something other than a Pension Fund and place same under the DDE Programme shall be resisted fiercely with very drastic actions that will certainly disrupt the industrial harmony nationwide.”