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Maintain freeze on public sector employment after IMF exit – Economist

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Maintain freeze on public sector employment after IMF exit – Economist

Maintain freeze on public sector employment after IMF exit – Economist

The government has been warned to resist any temptation to lift the ban on employment into the public sector at the end of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme on April 2.

Speaking to Citi News, Economist at the University of Ghana, Dr. Ebo Tuckson said Ghana needs to move beyond government being the main supplier of jobs.

“We shouldn’t, once we leave, freeze public sector employment because when we do that, then we inflate the wage bill. That is one of the main reasons for expenditures that normally cause us to run huge fiscal deficits.”

“We should rather provide the environment for the private sector to thrive; for the private sector to generate employment and jobs that the economy needs,” the lecturer said.

In 2015, the three-year loan agreement concluded between the Government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) contained agreements to freeze employment in government departments except for those under education and health.

This was part of measures to stabilize the economy and effectively manage the public wage bill.

The agreement was also expected the government to limit the nominal increase in the total wage bill to no more than 10 percent.

Ahead of the election in 2020, Dr. Ebo Tuckson also urged the government to be measured in its spending so it does not overrun the estimated budget for the year.

“If you look back over the fourth republic, with the exception of President Kufuor in his second election, where he was able to maintain the budget and not overrun it, all other government’s we have had have overrun their budget… The politicians, you know, when things heat up and things have to be done, that is when we sacrifice all these things and overrun the budget.”

IMF journey ends

The Executive Board of the IMF just approved the final disbursement of about US$185.2 million to Ghana.

The IMF Executive Board completed the seventh and eight reviews on March 20, 2019, under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) supported arrangement.

The fund pointed out that, considering Ghana’s resolve to tackle difficult reforms, the Executive Board also approved the authorities’ request for a waiver of the nonobservance of a few program targets.

Ghana’s three-year arrangement was approved on April 3, 2015, for about US$925.9 million or 180 percent of quota at the time of approval of the arrangement.

It was extended for an additional year on August 30, 2017, and is to end on April 2, 2019.

The arrangement aimed to restore debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability in the country to foster a return to high growth and job creation while protecting social spending.

Source: citinewsroom.com

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Bawumia in France for 8th EITI Global Conference

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Bawumia in France for 8th EITI Global Conference

Ghanaian vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Monday left Accra for Paris, France to attend the 8th Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Global Conference.

The conference will provide an opportunity for heads of state, civil society activists and industry leaders to discuss emerging trends and best practices in the good governance of natural resources.

Vice President Bawumia will participate in the opening plenary session, which will set the scene for the conference, highlighting global trends and future directions for the EITI and the wider extractives governance agenda. It is under the theme “Open Data, Build Trust – Extractives Governance In A Changing World.”

The Vice President will also hold a number of meetings with key stakeholders, including the incoming Chair of the EITI, Mrs Helen Elizabeth Clark, to deliberate on the emerging issues confronting the extractives industry across the world, but particularly in Africa. Mrs Clark is a former Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Vice President Bawumia returns to Accra on Wednesday, 19th June, 2019.

Source: dailyguidenetwork.com

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GH¢43m saved after clearing pension’s payroll – SSNIT

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GH¢43m saved after clearing pension’s payroll – SSNIT

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has saved a whopping GH¢43million as of April this year after deleting over 6,300 ghost pensioners from its payroll.

The Trust in February last year began an exercise to clean the pension’s payroll of ghost names in collaboration with the banks, which monitored dormant accounts over time and terminated those it deemed ghost pensioners.

Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, the Director-General of SSNIT who made this known, indicated that cleaning the pensions payroll formed part of the prudent internal and external management and cost-saving practices aimed at building a robust self-sustaining Scheme.

SSNIT has a total of 1,551,718 active contributors as of March 2019 and 205,094 pensioners on its payroll with the highest paid pensioner receiving GHS55,899.57 a month, while the minimum pension paid is GHS300.00.

Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang was speaking at an educational forum organised by SSNIT in collaboration with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to discuss social security issues, particularly, on pensions and benefit computations.

It was aimed at promoting knowledge of the SSNIT Scheme, empowering organised labour as peer educators for the Trust and demystifying controversial issues surrounding computation of benefits to contributors.

Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang stressed that sustainability of the Scheme was very essential and urged all institutions to ensure that the Trust run efficiently and effectively.

He said the external actuarial valuation suggested that the contribution rate necessary to pay benefits over the next 50 years and to accumulate assets representing three years of total expenditure was around 19.2 percent.

Last year, he said the Trust spent GH¢2.5 billion on benefits payments and indicated that GH¢230million was being spent in funding pensions payment to over 200,000 pensioners monthly.

Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang added that more than one million Cedis was spent on Invalidity Pension every month, adding that SSNIT was committed to paying all legitimate claims.

He said there were no myths surrounding benefits computation and that, pensions were direct reflections of salaries on which contributions were paid, saying “with the SSNIT pension Scheme, what you put in is what you get”

He said SSNIT had embarked on an aggressive public education agenda to promote knowledge of the scheme among Ghanaians and that the Trust was leveraging on its large social media followers to educate and engage millennial.

Mr. Joseph Poku, the Pensions Manager who took participants through the SSNIT benefits computation, enumerated the three factors that were considered in the computation of benefits under the National Pensions Act 2008, Act 766 as age, average of best 36 months’ salary and earned pension right.

He said a contributor was entitled to a pension right based on the number of months contributed to the Scheme and gave the minimum and maximum pension right earned for 180 and 420 months as 37.5 and 60 percent respectively.

He said salary was a key factor in the computation of pensions and so the higher the salary one contributed, the higher his pensions.

Mr. Joshua Ansah, the Deputy General Secretary of TUC, noted with concern that some workers connived with their employers to pay little contributions to SSNIT and deposit huge sums to the private trust funds.

He advised workers to be interested in consolidating their salaries in order to have meaningful pension instead of bagging huge allowances, which had no bearing on the computation of pensions.

SSNIT was established in 1972 under NRCD 127. It manages the First Tier Contributions of 13.5 percent of workers’ basic salary. Eleven per cent of the amount is invested in the Social Security Fund, while 2.5 per cent goes into the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Source: citinewsroom.com

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Gov’t has not borrowed GHC80billion – Oppong Nkrumah

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Gov't has not borrowed GHC80billion - Oppong Nkrumah

Gov’t has not borrowed GHC80billion – Oppong Nkrumah

Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has rejected claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the NPP government has in the past two years borrowed 80 billion cedis with no development projects to show for it.

The minority at a press conference had sought to create the impression that the NPP government had borrowed funds in excess of ¢80 billion since the party assumed office in January 2017.

They dared government to point to the various projects that the borrowed funds have been used for suggesting that the borrowed funds have been used for ‘consumption’ placing Ghana in a debt distressed position.

But contrary to their claims, evidence from the central bank and the Ministry of Finance, provided by the Information Minister has exposed the seeming untruth in the claims by the opposition.

Rebutting the claims by the opposition on Accra based Citi TV Mr Oppong Nkrumah challenged the figures put out by the minority arguing that members of the opposition NDC were only ‘confusing themselves’ with Ghana’s ‘debt stock’ and Ghana’s ‘borrowed funds’.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah explained that the nominal debt stock in cedi terms refers to the cedi equivalent of Ghana’s external and domestic debts at a point in time. This figure he further explained was affected by about five different items only one of which was new borrowing by the Akufo-Addo administration.

The Information Minister noted that the ¢80billion that the minority claim the Akufo-Addo government has borrowed represents the change in the cedi equivalent of the nominal debt.

“We can say that the debt stock has changed by $76 billion. But what we are saying is that you cannot go out and make a claim or suggestion that the change of $76 billion in the debt stock means the Akufo-Addo government has borrowed $76 billion dollars”, the minister explained.

He further explained that the $76 billion is not an amount of money which has been borrowed by the NPP government. He noted that it was rather the amount of money that has been added to the debt stock since the NPP assumed office. He explained that a number of factors including the disbursement of loans contracted in the previous administration, exchange rate differentials and transactional effect account for this $76 billion dollars.

“What we are saying is that apart from old loans that are being disbursed, there are some of the new additions to the debt stock that are not monies that comes to the administration to be used for projects and we have given examples. Take the Extended Credit Facility (IMF bailout) that my brother Ato Forson and my very good friend Seth Terkper literally led us into under IMF. We are to receive about $1 billion in support that goes to the bank of Ghana. This money doesn’t come to the central treasury for the central bank or for the central government to use for any developmental project. If you take that nearly $1 billion, it is about GHS 5 billion in contemporary terms because it is part of our external debt and I used the current exchange rate”.

He continued that, “about $5 billion in Ato Forson’s $80 billion change in debt stock, he (Ato Forson) knows it is not money that comes to the central treasury to use for any project, yet they want to create the impression that, it is money that president Akufo-Addo has borrowed and must be able to show for it”.

Providing a list of old loans contracted before President Akufo-Addo assumed office, which is now being disbursed, Mr Nkrumah further challenged the minority that the claim that Akufo-Addo had caused an 80b change could therefore not be sustained.

Source: starrfm.com.gh

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