Ghana Mineworkers Union opposes debt exchange programme

The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union (GMU) says it is opposed to any debt restructuring programme that will negatively impact workers’ pensions and individual life savings. 

The Union reiterated that “we will do everything in our power to ensure that our members are fully protected and that not even a pesewa of pension funds is lost in the debt restructuring programme.”

Mr Abdul-Moomin Gbana, the General Secretary, GMU, told the Union’s National Executive Council meeting in Accra.

He urged the government to halt the exportation of raw materials and add value to the country’s natural resources to boost foreign investment.

“Africa’s vast mineral wealth should be an important driver of its structural transformation.

“It is clear that Africa has not harnessed the full potential of its mineral endowments for sustainable, inclusive development,” he said.

He said inflation in emerging markets and developing economies was expected to increase from 5.9 per cent in 2021 to 9.9 per cent in 2022 before declining to 8.1 per cent in 2023. 

In Ghana, the latest data indicate that headline inflation accelerated to 40.4 per cent in October 2022 from 37 per cent, 2 per cent in September and 33.9 per cent in August.

In the 2023 budget statement, the Government introduced an additional income tax bracket of 35 per cent from 30 per cent and an increase in the Value-Added Tax (VAT) rate by two and a half percentage points from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent.

On the E-levy, the Government has reduced the rate to one per cent of the transaction value and removed the daily threshold of GH¢100.

Commenting on the taxes, Mr Gbana called on the Government to review the increases in the VAT rate and maintain the daily threshold for the e-levy.

He said amidst all the tax reforms, the depreciation of the cedi continued to mount intense pressure on mortgages, making the servicing of or access to mortgage loans or financing extremely difficult for the working people of this country. 

Mr Gbana said the trade unions were poised to join the fight against corruption to address the financial leakages in the system and ensure that resources were fairly distributed.

Research by a consortium, including the Institute for Statistical, Social, and Economic Research (ISSER) has also revealed that Ghana lost more than $2 billion in taxes alone in 2017 due to the undervaluation of gold exports.

Mr. Kwesi Pratt, the General Secretary, Socialist Movement of Ghana, urged organised labour to help build a strong society for the country’s development.

He said the Union had huge potential to play a leading role in building a new trade union movement.

Mr. Mensah Kwarko Gyakari, the National Chairman of the Union, called on the leadership of the Trade Union Congress to continue to fight for the interests of workers, especially Ghanaian mine workers on fixed contract terms.

Source: GNA

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