Embattled Labour minister Haruna Iddrisu in a bid to assuage the fears of unionised workers has stated in a media interaction that the second tier pension contribution of public sector workers has been invested and yielded “very good returns” explaining “It’s been invested in treasury bills’.
Courting the friendship of the press in his hour of need, the Employment and Labour Relations minister also charged the media to conduct investigations at the central bank and ascertain if funds have been disbursed as alleged by some of the workers.
Mr. Iddrisu has justified government’s delay in making payments, saying it was seeking to protect the fund against any future risks.” We have over 440 million with the Bank of Ghana yet to be disbursed, it is just the structure and the mechanism that we disagree on, the president has a duty and responsibility to protect the fund against any risks,” he said.
Union members however charge that their leadership have held “countless meetings and interactions” with the National Pensions Regulatory Authority, a body mandated to oversee pensions in Ghana, but such deliberations have been fruitless because of the inadequacy of trust.
Policy think tank, IMANI Ghana issued a statement indicating that the strike was inevitable since government did little to find common ground to address the fears of union members.
Twelve labour unions, including public health and education sector workers, have declared a nationwide sit-down strike, over what they refer as “government’s failure and undue delay” in paying part of their pension contributions into a private account. The unions hope an indefinite strike will mount pressure on the Government to release the fund to private managers of their choice.
The government has been working to contract Pension Alliance Trust (PAT) to manage the fund, although PAT, a licensed insurance company has the capacity, union members fear government will hoodwink them should PAT emerge as the fund managers.