TUC Alarmed By Economic Misery

Deputy Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah has decried the general performance of the country’s economy, saying it is impacting negatively on workers in all aspects of their lives.

Touching on the current state of the economy, especially the implications of the bailout of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Ghana’s public sector employment and salaries on Thursday in Accra, Dr Baah said all sectors of the country’s economy were not performing well, adding that that has been aggravated by the cedi’s depreciation against the major currencies which has made the cost of living high.

“As at July 2015, one needed GH¢4.50 for a dollar which used to be one Ghana cedi to a US dollar in 2007. Inflation for July hovered around 17.9 percent from 17.1 in the previous month while the GDP has slumped from $1,871 in 2013 to $1,427 as at last year, not to talk of the country’s foreign reserves, which have dwindled from $5.5 billion in 2009 to $4.9 billion currently,” he pointed out.

He said owing to such circumstances, the TUC organised the workshop to enable its leaders acquaint themselves with the ramifications of the IMF bailout, especially for workers.

He said Ghana has had extended credit facilities from the IMF in the last 16 years but unfortunately the period has been characterised by issues of redundancy, which has created hardship for the ordinary Ghanaian, hence the need to strategize well by dispassionately discussing the policies thoroughly “so that we can cooperate with the government in the bailout programmes.”

Dr Baah indicated that the economic downturn in the last three years had made the country credit unworthy in the international arena, compelling the government to take measures to reverse the trend.

Deputy TUC General Secretary stated that though the government has not been heeding TUC’s suggestions, Organised Labour would force the government to listen this time round if it becomes necessary, once the IMF has come on the scene.

He, therefore, implored all to cooperate with the government to improve the fortunes of the country.

Fritz Kopsieker, Resident Director of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), sponsors of the workshop, said the TUC has the responsibility to cater for its members and help build a healthy economy.

He said though the IMF and other development partners may not meet with the Organised Labour, the latter had the power to determine how the country’s money would be spent, hence the need for a dialogue between it and government to settle the differences.

Dr Alhassan Iddrisu, Director of Research & Forecasting at the Ministry of Finance, in a remark, explained that about 90 percent of the IMF’s policies were programmes that government had already arranged to help resuscitate the country’s economy and therefore government was prepared to cushion the shocks.