‘Nana-Addo must ride labour issues’

December 13, 2016
Source: Richard Annerquaye Abbey/thebftonline.com/Ghana
‘Nana-Addo must ride labour issues’

The incoming Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo administration will have to dig deep to ride on the various labour agitations that docked his predecessor’s administration, Dr. Raziel Obeng-Okon, a Senior Lecturer, Public Accounting at GIMPA, has said.

The outgoing-Mahama administration witnessed labor agitations from various quarters including medical doctors, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, nurses, lawyers, teachers, ECG employees, teacher training students etc.

These labour unrest emanated from poor remuneration, unpaid wages and allowances, gaps within the salary scale, lack of logistics, unpaid Tier-1 pension contribution to private fund managers etc.

According to Dr. Obeng-Okon, President Mahama’s government, in the midst of all these concerns, sought to appear resolute to please the International Monetary Fund and other donors by showing readiness to be a disciplined government. 

While government scored some positive points for the IMF program through the containment of the wage bill, it created social unrest and loss of confidence in the government leading to several strike actions by various trade unions. 

The new government, he said, may have to continue from where the NDC government left off and this problem needs tactical solution.

He said the incoming government needs to use moral suasions to settle worker agitation and this must be done timeously. 

“One gets the impression that the NDC government’s negotiators failed to meet deadlines and appeared snobbish in dealing with labor unrest issues.  It is important for the new government to show concern and readiness to discuss the issues bordering on labor fairly and in a more transparent manner. 

Solving economic challenges

The GIMPA Senior Lecturer maintained that the incoming government would have no choice but to continue with the fiscal consolidation -- anchored on the ongoing IMF US$918 million -- in the short-term till it is able to generate enough inflows to finance its operations, pay outstanding liabilities and capital expenditures.

Since the fiscal consolidation policy is aimed at reducing government deficits and debt accumulation, the new government needs to review the government’s debt management strategy and if need be fine-tune it to make it more efficacious.

According to the IMF team that visited Ghana for the third review, the implementation of the program by the government continues to be broadly satisfactory, but the economic outlook remains challenging.

It indicated that further efforts are needed to address revenue shortfalls, while expenditure control measures should be fully enforced to contain the wage bill and other current spending.

The incoming government will need to remain cautious in accessing external market financing with due consideration to costs and debt sustainability, Dr. Obeng-Okon added.

“To sustain the IMF programme, the new government would need to broaden the tax base and enhance tax compliance; strengthen control of expenditure including the wage bill; enhance public financial management; ensure value for money in all public-private partnership projects, and improve efficiency and effectiveness of state-owned enterprises,” he said.