TUC decries freeze on employment in 2023 budget


Members of the Trades Union Congress have called on their Union to reject the 2023 budget statement and economic policy, warning that the proposals in it will deepen the country’s economic crisis.

Citing the decision to ban further employment for civil and public servants, the increment of value added tax (VAT) by 2.5 percent and removal of the levy threshold on electronic transactions (E-levy), among other concerns, the TUC says the budget was designed to impoverish the average Ghanaian and workers.

Speaking at a post-budget forum organised by the TUC and themed ‘Rebuilding Path’, Secretary-General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU), Edward Kareweh, described the budget as inimical to the aspirations of Ghanaians and labour.

“The budget did not reflect the aspirations of Ghanaians. It did not reflect the aspirations of labour. It did not reflect the dire situation of farmers. Why am I saying so? In the budget, government agreed that the major concern of our country is unemployment.

“We also know that unemployment has been rising. But the budget aims to increase unemployment through a deliberate policy not to employ people.  It’s not by accident or inability of government to create jobs; they are saying that they are deliberately through this policy not going to employ people,” he stated.

Speaking to journalists on the forum’s sidelines, the TUC Secretary-General, Dr. Yaw Baah, added that the decision will negatively impact productivity and welfare of the country.

“Your effectiveness in service delivery will be affected, and the workers who are working will have to share the burden of those who have retired without any compensation; and that is why we have issues with this,” Dr. Baah said.

He added: “We know that we are in crisis, but the policies we adopt as solutions to the crisis could even deepen it. That is not what we want. We want solutions which will be effective, will make sure everybody wins”.

Speaking on the subject, Dr. Kwabena Nyarko Otoo – Director of TUC’s Labour Research and Policy Institute (LRPI), called for government’s economic policies in 2023 to go beyond the IMF bailout.

He said government should roll-out homegrown policies which seek to transform the economy’s structure, with gricultural investment and industrialisation being a key policy in the medium- to long-term.

Dr. Nyarko Otoo further called for an intensification of revenue mobilisation and implementation of the Exemptions Act, as well as ending harmful exemptions which deprive the state of revenues.

“In the medium- to long-term, government must implement policies which can generate more revenue from our mineral wealth. Currently, Ghana receives just 10 percent of the mining sector’s revenues while government imposes a maximum 25 percent tax on wages/salaries of workers,” he stated.

The forum afforded the TUC and its affiliates an opportunity to ascertain the extent to which the budget will help address current economic challenges and put the economy on a growth-path, so as to create decent employment for the citizenry.

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