Joshua Ansah, the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress, Ghana has lashed out at the Government for not consulting the union before the government’s debt exchange programme announcement.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Ansah said “nobody approached anybody, we all heard it from the Finance Minister’s speech, and not even a single leader was consulted.”
He said the government’s consistent assurance that individual bondholders will not be affected doesn’t add up because the supposed investment agencies and pension holders it is dealing with are only holding or managing the bonds in trust for individuals.
“The Government should know that when we talk about bondholding, the bond is nothing more than people putting their money together and giving it to somebody to buy a bond or invest in a bond. So the money is not a ghost’s money, it is people’s money so if you are doing something with people’s money, nothing stops you from looking for the people and consulting them before any decision is taken.
“They should come and tell us what is voluntary about this programme. If the Government took us seriously, they should have known that people have pensions in SSNIT and Third Tier and no individual can be singled out. It is our monies in those bonds and we are saying don’t touch our monies.”
He also scolded the Government for increasing the Value Added Tax (VAT) by 2.5% which he said will further worsen the living conditions of Ghanaians.
“This is not the time for taxation to be increased, this is the time for consultations so that people can have a say in their living conditions. We are still taking our old incomes, and you are adding up more taxes to it so, that is the negative impact it will have on workers and that is what we are talking about it.”