Rethink Debt Exchange programme – UTAG tells govt

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta

The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has told the government to have a second look at the Debt Exchange porgramme following the concerns raised by stakeholders.

Stakeholders including the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), the Ghana National Union of Traders Association (GUTA), the Trades Union Congress (TUC) have all rejected the  programme that was launched by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta on Monday December 6.

UTAG also said they take serious exception to any intervention that would worsen the plight of the already impoverished University Lecturer.

“In particular, we reject the wholesale implementation of the recently announced debt exchange programme,” a statement they issued said.

It added “We are convinced that the debt exchange programme may negatively affect the Ghana Universities Salary Superannuation Scheme (GUSSS) as well as Tiers Two and Three Pension Funds of our members. It would also result in significant reduction in the principal and/or interest payments due members who have invested in mutual funds and may need resources to meet emergency needs.

“Again, given that the individual savings of many of our members are lodged with the various Credit Unions on our campuses, part of which have been invested in bonds, any attempt at wholesale implementation of the announced debt exchange programme would ultimately harm the savings of our members.

“We, therefore, reiterate our vehement opposition to any straight-jacket implementation of the announced debt exchange programme. It should not, in any way, affect the pensions and other investment returns of the hardworking Ghanaian.

“Government should consider the genuine concerns raised by various stakeholders and rethink the debt exchange programme. UTAG is willing to brainstorm and support Government to find lasting solutions to address the current economic challenges.”

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta launched the Debt Exchange Programme as part of efforts to save the ailing economy.

Under the Programme, domestic bondholders will be asked to exchange their instruments for new ones.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana