General News of Friday, 2 November 2018
The Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU) is concerned that it has not been consulted by the government about plans to leverage the pensions fund for an affordable housing project.
On the Citi Breakfast Show, the General Secretary of the ICU, Solomon Kotei said the union could not commit to a proposal it was in the dark on.
If pension funds are going to be used, the contributors must be involved in the direction, he said.
“The major stakeholders who are the contributors to this fund have not been consulted. If they have, then [it was not broad] because a union the size of ICU is not in the discussion. Those who also represent workers on the board have not also communicated that idea to anybody.”
In October 2017, the Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta-Akyea, said the Ministry would seek Cabinet approval on a proposal to invest between 30 and 40 percent of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) funds in the proposed credible mortgage system.
This is to ensure that all workers had access to mortgage facilities, thereby countering Ghana’s housing deficit.
Mr. Kotei said there was no guarantee that if the pension funds are used, they won’t end up being wasted on uncompleted projects.
“Before you see, this project will become a laughing stock so we want it all to be the government contribution… if we don’t take care, this investment will be left hanging.”
Another reason the union is reluctant to endorse the project is that the workers still end up struggling to afford the homes described as ‘affordable’.
“Most of the completed housing projects were not bought by the workers themselves. They were bought by people who never contributed to the fund,” Mr. Kotei noted.