The Trades Union Congress (TUC) says the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war simply revealed Ghana’s fragile economy and that the current economic crisis is self-inflicted.
It said irrespective of the enormous human and natural resources the country possessed it was sad to note that the “IMF bailout has now become the lifeline for Ghana”.
Mrs Phyllis Agyemang, the Eastern Regional Secretary of the TUC, said this in a speech read on behalf of the Secretary General, Dr Yaw Baah, during the May Day celebration in Koforidua, on the theme: “Protecting Incomes and Pension in an Era of Economic Crisis: Our Responsibility”.
Citations and 43-inch flat-screen Samsung television sets were presented to eight individuals from various unions and institutions in appreciation of their hard work.
Public and private sector workers who participated in the parade displayed placards with inscriptions such as; “Don’t mortgage our future,” “Corruption is the real evil,” and “Huge tax is killing us.”
Mrs Agyemang attributed Ghana’s quest for the IMF bailout almost every three years to management flaws in the economy.
“Our history of engagements with the IMF provides ample evidence that the IMF-sponsored programmes and policies cannot change our economic circumstances. Another programme from the Fund will only impose more economic burdens on us,” she said.
However, the Government could lead the country out of the economic challenges by cutting down on expenditure of non-essentials such as halting investment into the National Cathedral project.
Also the size of the Government must be reduced, while the Ghana Revenue Authority and all revenue collection agencies must be allowed to operate without political interference.
Mr Seth Acheampong, the Eastern Regional Minister, said apart from the IMF bailout, the Government was seeking help from private sector investors and key development partners for a quicker deal to improve the economy.
He said the Government had worked very hard to protect public sector workers during and post COVID-19 and ensured that salaries were paid on time.
Nonetheless, the private sector jobs had reduced according to a survey conducted by the Ghana Living Standard Survey Business Tracker in 2020, which showed that 41,952 workers were laid off, he said.
Also, 770,124 workers suffered reduced wages, he said, and assured of the Government’s commitment to working tirelessly to bring the economy back on track.
“The Government is doing its best to strike a delicate balance and we have to work together with labour unions and employers to attain this delicate balance,” he said.