Methodist Bishop Flays Govt Over Skrike

THE METHODIST Bishop of Obuasi Diocese, Rt Rev Stephen Richard Bosomtwe-Ayensu, has waded into the controversial tier-two pension scheme tussle, questioning government’s insistence to select a fund manager for workers in the public sector. According to the Bishop, the entrenched position taken by government gives room for people like him to suspect that the money’s existence being five percent deductions from workers’pay towards their pension is seriously in doubt. Workers in the public sector, who belong to 12 labour unions, last week declared an indefinite strike action in protest against government’s handling of the pension schemes. Government establishments were deserted because of the strike when Daily Guide visited the Ministries in Accra yesterday. The workers have accused government of acting in contravention of the Pension Law by selecting fund managers to manage the five per cent under the tier-two scheme. But government, in response, has sued the labour unions, demanding a pronouncement from the court on whether it does not have the right to choose fund managers for the tier-two pension that is expected to give lump sums to workers who go on retirement. Speaking in an interview with Daily Guide, Rev Bosomtwe-Ayensu said he is on the side of Ghanaian workers as they are fighting for their right, indicating that the strike action is justified. He asked government to heed to the demands of the workers if it has not used up the money, intimating that the workers as adults know what is best for them. “Government’s insistence appears it is acting without due regard to the consequences of the strike action, and this is sad,” he noted, and asked rhetorically: “Why is government bent of appointing fund managers for the scheme?” The man of God also questioned the deafening silence of the Council of State in the numerous strike actions that have hit the country. “Where is the Council of State? Is it functioning and playing its constitutional role?” he quizzed. He added that if the constitutional body has been sleeping on its job, then a new ministerial portfolio responsible for prayer and counselling ought to be created to serve that purpose. Article 89 of the 1992 Constitution says “There shall be a Council of State to counsel the President in the performance of his functions,” but the Reverend Minister believes the body has shirked its responsibility in the face of government’s reaction to national issues. For the Methodist Bishop, the nation appears to be naked and requires God’s intervention to bring about restoration, citing the current challenges as marks of trying moments for a nation. On the voter exhibition exercise, Rt Rev Bosomtwe- Ayensu appealed to the Electoral Commission (EC) to wake up to its responsibility to ensure a credible voter register is produced. He called on the Christian Council to pray for the country and speak against the ills in society, noting that Ghana is not ready to travel on the path of civil war.