“Fulfil your pledges to long suffering Ghanaian workers”
On the occasion of the celebration of May Day, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) extends its warmest felicitations to, and solidarity with Ghanaian workers whose sweat and toil continues to keeps the wheels of state running.
As Social Democrats, we fully associate with the struggles and aspirations of all Ghanaian workers as we mark this important world-wide occasion. We recognise the immense sacrifices and contributions that labour has made over the years and its partnership with various governments and like-minded organisations to bring development and progress to our dear nation.
This year’s celebration is being marked against the backdrop of many difficulties which threaten the wellbeing of Ghanaian workers. We note with regret that for the first time in recent memory, Ghanaian public sector workers have been forced to mark this important day without receiving their monthly salary.
This will no doubt impinge adversely on their ability to meet critical needs of their families and dependents. This show of insensitivity on the part of the Akufo Addo government will inflict more hardships on workers who have already had to contend with sky rocketing prices of goods and services and a general increase in the cost of living.
The plight of the Ghanaian worker has further been worsened by the failure of the Akufo Addo government to keep faith with them through the non-fulfilment of key electoral promises. There has been no significant reduction in the price of electricity and fuel as promised by then candidate Akufo Addo and the NPP in the run up to the 2016 elections.
In the face of these hardships however, the Akufo Addo government has favoured platitudes and empty rhetoric instead of the implementation of concrete policies to alleviate the suffering of the worker and Ghanaians at large.
This rhetoric has however been undermined by a naked show of ostentation and a money-guzzling approach to governance. Instead of pumping resources into productive sectors to expand the frontiers of employment for the hundreds of thousands of unemployed youth, the Akufo Addo government has rather chosen to burden the tax payer through the installation of an unnecessarily large and over-bloated government.
The Akufo Addo government’s inexplicable belief in the “job for the boys” philosophy also threatens to render valuable human resources in the various MDA’s redundant following the engagement of a legion of special assistants and advisors who wield more influence and power than very senior public and civil servants in many MDAs despite possessing limited qualifications.
This has in turn resulted in an over-concentration of excessively huge amounts of tax payers’ money in the Presidency to the disadvantage of Ministries, Departments and Agencies where the bulk of government business is conducted.
In order to fund this large government size, vital state agencies including all the country’s universities, major hospitals including all psychiatric hospitals and the National Blood Bank have been asked to surrender their Internally Generated Funds while the Office of the President alone has been given more money in this fiscal year alone than what the same office took between 2013 and 2016 put together.
Additionally, the government has sought to siphon monies from statutory funds such as GetFund, NHIS and the District Assemblies Common Fund through the placement of a cap on how much monies can accrue to these funds. Apart from being a glaring violation of the law, this move will cripple the Education and Health sectors since these Funds have become so central to their financing.
We also note with concern the mis-treatment of some public sector workers who have been dismissed for no justifiable reason apart from having been employed by the previous government.
“We encourage the Government to pay heed to the theme of this year’s May Day celebration;; “Ghana @60: Mobilizing for Ghana’s Future through the creation of Decent Jobs”. We want to remind the Akuffo Addo government that, dismissing thousands from post and putting others in their place does not create or sustain decent jobs. It simply gives employment to some and unemployment to others.”
The people of Ghana await with baited breath the creation and sustenance of millions of decent jobs.
The extreme partisanship being introduced into the Ghanaian public sector is inherently dangerous and will lead to a polarised and ineffective public service if not nipped in the bud. Aggravating the bloated government size are the early signs of corruption and cronyism as can be seen in the instances of the US$ 2.25 billion Bond Scandal and the acceptance of lavish hospitality from AMERI, a company that this government claims to be “investigating”.
These worrying developments aside, we also note with regret, the plight of newly trained nurses who have had to protest sometimes under very trying conditions to press home their demands for employment. We particularly regret the short-sighted and partisan decision by the Akufo Addo government to set aside the recruitment process long started by the immediate past NDC government which would have seen thousands of newly-trained nurses gainfully employed in the many world-class hospitals built by the Mahama Administration.
We urge government to take steps to address the concerns of these nurses with the view to employing them as soon as possible.
Finally, we urge the Akufo Addo government to ensure the completion and full implementation of a number of policy and legislative measures aimed at further protecting the interests of Ghanaian workers. These include;
• The Marrakesh Maternity Convention which was approved by the immediate past cabinet and;
• The Domestic Workers Regulation aimed at safeguarding and protecting Domestic Workers
We salute all Ghanaian workers on this auspicious day and re-iterate our commitment as a Social Democratic Party to place the plight of workers at the very top of our agenda both in government and in opposition.
Johnson Asiedu Nketia