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IMF cannot take Ghana out of economic crisis – TUC tells government

Workers welding placards

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) Ghana has reiterated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout which the Government of Ghana was seeking cannot take the country out of the economic woes it was presently facing.

It said there was ample historical evidence that buttress the fact that IMF-sponsored programmes cannot change the economic circumstances of the country.

This was contained in the Organized Labour's May Day statement read by Mr Godwin Gariba, the Upper West Regional Secretary of the TUC, at Nandom during the occasion of the regional May Day celebration.

"Another IMF programme will only impose more economic burden on us. We have to change the situation ourselves," portions of the statement read.

Mr Godwin Gariba, TUC Regional Secretary, UWR

It said the government could lead the country out of the economic crisis by cutting expenditure on non-essentials, citing the need to stop spending hard-earned revenue on the controversial National Cathedral project.

"In fact, it will be better to convert that project into a national hospital," it suggested.

The TUC further advised the government to intensify revenue mobilization efforts but hasten to caution against "the excessive use of regressive taxes which impose a disproportionate burden on local businesses and on poor people in the society."

It also urged the government to pay attention to the National Development Planning Commission's policy recommendations on domestic tax revenue mobilization including: Ghana's major exports should be made a major contributor to tax and non-tax revenue; renegotiate some incentives in the extractive industry; and giving consideration to some environmental taxes.

From left: TUC Regional Chairman, Nandom Naa, Regional Coordinating Director

The statement also reiterated the need to review the national labour laws to effectively ensure job and income security, as it cited that some employers were abusing their rights to 'hire and fire' workers, while others were taking advantage of the weaknesses in the labour law change employment contracts.

"In the last five years, the TUC has lost thousands of its members due to this practice which is being promoted and facilitated by private employment agencies," it lamented.

It also called on the government to adopt a wage policy that indexes wages to inflation to protect the incomes of workers effectively.

The TUC specially requested the government not to allow the Saglame Housing Project to go wasted but make it to benefit the Ghanaian workers who were contributing to the county's development and yet do not have places to lay their heads.

The Upper West Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Peter Maala, the Regional Coordinating Director, said protecting incomes and pensions was a collective responsibility and duty of all social partners.

"This is because incomes earned by workers and pensions are a function of jobs created by employers and of the creation of an enabling environment by the Government to help sustain enterprise growth," he said.

He said the implementation of economic recovery measures including the pending IMF deal, meant the government confronted the circumstances of the economy straight-on in its quest to put the country back onto the path of progress and prosperity.

Woman (blue top) awarded

He said the government was committed to speeding up the recovery process as evidenced in the cutting by 30 per cent, discretionary expenditures of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); 30 per cent reduction in salaries of political appointees; 50 per cent reduction in fuel coupon allocations; and the placement of moratorium on the purchase of imported vehicles.

He said the government was also making strenuous efforts towards ensuring decent work and incomes, and thus called on workers to contribute their quotas towards achieving the mandates of their workplaces.

Naa Prof Edmund Nminyem Delle Chiir VIII, the paramount chief of Nandom, who was the special guest of honour at the parade, called on workers to continue to give off their bests and always resort to dialogue in seeking redress to their concerns.

He assured workers of the support of traditional authorities in advancing their demands for redress by the government.

The event which proceeded with a route march through the principal streets of the Nandom town saw in attendance various workers' unions, both public and private.

In all, 16 workers were awarded citations and certificates for their outstanding services within their fields of work, out of which nine of them received 43-inch Samsung Full-HD TVs.


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