GMA rejects debt exchange programme

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has rejected the debt exchange programme announced by the government.

The GMA in a statement on December 6 said the debt restructuring will have a negative impact on its members’ pensions funds and healthcare delivery in the country.

“The GMA is also concerned about the negative effect of the debt exchange programme on Private Health facilities, private health insurance and mutual schemes that have invested heavily with Government of Ghana bonds. This we believe will impact negatively on patient care, medication supply and claims management,” the statement said.

Government in announcing the programme said it is part of a key requirement to obtain an economic programme from the International Monetary Fund.

As part of the debt restructuring process, government said there will be a cut in bond interest with no coupon payment for 2023.

But GMA believes such measures will “result in a significant loss in value of our pensions in real terms over the next 5-15 years and beyond.”

It added that the government’s maximum bond interest of 10% will lead to a negative real return for investments every time inflation rises above 10%.

“All these, we believe, will further worsen the already dire situation workers and pensioners will face, especially when their meagre pensions have lost significant value owing to the depreciation of the cedi, high inflation amongst others,” GMA noted.

The Association wants government to immediately exempt pensions and other related investment funds completely from the debt restructuring process.

They say failure to do so may result in “actions that will disrupt the industrial harmony in the country.”

Already, other labour unions such as NAGRAT and TUC have kicked against the debt restructuring measure. They have urged the government not to touch workers’ funds.

The Chamber of Corporate Trustees has also rejected the debt exchange programme proposed by the Ministry of Finance.

“We have carefully analysed the announcement by the Minister of Finance on the Debt Exchange Programme and are of the opinion that it is injurious to the interest of contributors to pension schemes”, the Chamber said in a statement.

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