Give Us Our GH¢58m Pension Or We’ll Strike – CLOGSAG warns

CLOGSAG

The Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG), has vented their spleen at the Ministry of Finance over an alleged diversion of GH¢58 million pension contribution.

According to the association, the amount comprised GH¢53 million, contained in a GLICO report, and another GH¢5 million that was allegedly diverted from the Hedge Pension Trust Scheme.

CLOGSAG said the amount had been transferred into the Public Sector Workers Employee’s Pension Scheme (PSWEPS), a provisional scheme for non-union members.

Therefore, the union has asked the Ministry of Finance to immediately transfer all the contributions with the accrued interests from PSWEPS back into the association’s Hedge Pensions Trust within two weeks.

Failure to do so will result in a possible strike by CLOGSAG, an amalgamation of 12 separate unions.

Members of the association include the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana, the Ghana Medical Association and many others working in key public institutions.

In an interview monitored by the Ghana Report on Joy FM on Tuesday, June 8, the Executive Secretary of CLOGSAG, Dr Isaac Bampoe-Addo, said all efforts to get the Employment and Labour Relations Ministry to probe the situation had yielded no results.

“The National Executive Council has decided that if by June 18, 2021, no positive action is taken on these issues, CLOGSAG will have to fall on other options to get their best deal for its members,” Dr Bampoe-Addo said.

With such transfer, he said, PSWEPS was creating a bad name for the government, adding that “PSWEPS has outlived its usefulness. It must be scrapped off.”

He insisted that the pension funds belonged to the contributors. As such, no person, institution, the scheme itself, the government, nor any employer could “touch it.”

Against this background, the association has cautioned “all to keep their hands off, and allow the funds to grow for the benefit of contributors.”

The Executive Secretary bemoaned the neglect by the Deputy Finance Minister in providing an oversight responsibility and seeing to a halt of such occurrence, indicating that he has turned a blind eye for such “malpractice to go on.”

READ ALSO: Finance Ministry Engages TUC, CLOGSAG, Others On The 2020 Budget

Meanwhile, the association, at its three-day meeting at Cape Coast last week, among other things, observed that over the years, staff of CLOGSAG had endured relatively lower salary levels and allowances.

As such, it petitioned the President in January 2020, who directed that the approved recommendations on their conditions of service should be expedited.

Nonetheless, the association was yet to receive any response on the approval of the recommendations.

“The delay and the deafening silence on the conditions of service of both services have created anxiety among these workers who are part of the central and local levels of governance,” Dr Bampoe-Addo noted.

Stop interfering in our pensions – CLOGSAG tells Finance Ministry

At a Virtual meeting to commemorate this year’s Labour Day in May, CLOGSAG expressed worry over “unlawful interference” in their pensions by the Finance Ministry.

According to the Association, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) being placed under the Financial Service Division of the Ministry of Finance was an anomaly.

It indicated that it was rather to be under the Employment and Labour Relations, as stipulated in the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766).

Any supervisory role the Ministry of Finance is playing in relation to SSNIT aside from determining allowances for board members and committee members were not supported by Act 766; therefore, illegal, CLOGSAG said.

CLOGSAG expresses anger over CAGD’s failure to transfer deducted pension funds to SSNIT

In March this year, the association raised concern over the Controller and Accountant General Department (CAGD)’s failure to transfer deducted pension funds to SSNIT.

The association blamed the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) for such a situation.

The Auditor General’s 2019 report on Public Boards, corporations and statutory institutions revealed that the controller and Accountant general failed to transfer ¢1.2 billion of public sector workers contribution to SSNIT.

The Public Relations Officer of CLOGSAG, Edmund Acquaye, stated that all those challenges confronting it regarding pension was compounding because the regulator, NPRA was not doing its job.

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