The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has warned the Ministry of Finance and the whole government against trying to reclassify the GMA’s Pension Fund as something other than a Pension Fund and place it under the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP), as such a move will be vehemently opposed.
The 2nd Amended and Restated Exchange Memorandum from the Government about the DDEP dated, 3rd February 2023, attempts to categorize only funds regulated by the National Pensions Regulatory Authority as Pension funds, according to the GMA, which it highlighted with worry.
The GMA stated that its Pension Fund was established in 2002 to supplement the meager retirement pensions received by medical physicians.
“It’s set up and operation, thus, preceded the coming into force of the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766) and the subsequent implementation of the 3-Tier Pension Scheme in 2010,” a statement from the Association explained.
It said its Pension Fund has served as one of the tools to attract more doctors to stay and serve in Ghana despite the paltry salaries and pensions they receive.
“It has since its inception operated as a Pension fund with benefits paid out only upon retirement as per the trust deed. No withdrawal is permitted before retirement. It is also instructive to note that the GMA’s Pension Fund does not give loans or overdrafts. From the forgoing The GMA’s Pension Fund is and still operates as a pension fund for doctors in Ghana,” the statement said.
It reminded the government that, in accordance with the agreement between the Government and labour unions, of which the GMA is a member, signed on Thursday, December 22, 2022, with Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, Mr. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and Dr. Anthony Yaw Baah, Secretary General of TUC, executing the same on behalf of the Government and Organized Labour, respectively, Paragraph 1
“Government has decided to grant exemption to all pension funds in the DDE Programme”.
Accordingly, the GMA highlighted that its Pension Fund is appropriately excluded and is not covered by the present DDE program.
The Association has thus forewarned the government 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 fiercely resisted with very drastic actions that will undoubtedly disrupt the industrial harmony throughout the nation.