TUC reacts to 3rd SONA

“In spite of achievements in macroeconomic management, the president is mindful of the need for caution because – as he rightly observed – this is not the first time we have had such a good set of figures,” the Trades Union Congress (TUC) noted in response to the recent State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by President Akufo-Addo last week.

“We agree with the president on his call for prudence and discipline in the way the affairs of the state are conducted. One of the key challenges that remains to be addressed is how to maintain the linkage between macroeconomic achievements and the daily living experiences of Ghanaians.

“Declining inflation must be felt in the markets for goods and services, and it must reflect in the cost of living and living standards for the people of Ghana. A trade surplus must reflect in the exchange rate of the national currency against major currencies of the world.”

The TUC, it notes, must work together as social partners to ensure that economic growth creates more decent jobs wich enable workers to own decent housing and other basic necessities of life, the umbrella-body of 18 affiliate unions in the country stated as its preliminary comments on the President’s 3rd SONA to Parliament.

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“While we are commending government for creating more jobs in the public sector, we recognise that there is a limit to the state’s capacity to directly address the job crisis.

“Achievements in macroeconomic management which are delinked from the daily lives of citizens and communities are likely to be ephemeral, as our experience has shown in the last few years,” the TUC’s statement observed.

“Macroeconomic stability cannot be appreciated in a highly partisan and polarised environment like ours, unless and until we find ways to ensure that macroeconomic gains continuously lead to noticeable improvements in peoples’ lives. This requires a national conversation that is broad-based and takes into account differences in perspectives in the formulation, implementation, evaluation and review of economic and other public policies.

“That is why we are particularly happy about government’s initiative toward the creation of a Social Partnership Council (SPC), with the aim of bringing the social partners together to reach consensus on management of the economy in the post-IMF era,” TUC’s statement said.

As the president said, “the Social Partnership Council will provide a medium for building a sense of cohesion, trust, self-management, frank and open discussions” among the social partners on how, together, we grow our economy and ensure that an enhanced economic-pie benefits all Ghanaians, regardless of their socio-economic status or their location. We look forward to working with other social partners in the proposed Social Partnership Council.

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The TUC however stated there are indications that GPHA alone may sack about 1,400 workers in 2019, as a result of the MPS monopoly at the Tema Port.

“If the contract is not reviewed and MPS commences operation at the new terminal in June 2019, government/GPHA will surely lose millions of US dollars in revenue – in addition to over US$800million granted to MPS in tax concessions. We are therefore not only concerned about the massive job losses that will likely result from operations of the new Container Terminal by MPS, but also the huge losses in government revenue.”

The Labour organisation therefore appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to intervene, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that the contract between Ghana’s government and Meridian Port Services is reviewed.

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