Speaking at the maiden national labour conference in the Eastern Region, Akufo-Addo says his government is working to bring an end to the impasse.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has given assurance to the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) of his government’s commitment to addressing their welfare issues and appealed to them to end their strike, which is derailing the academic calendar.
Speaking at the maiden National Labour Conference held on Monday (28 February) in the Eastern Region, Akufo-Addo said his government is working around the clock to resolve the economic challenges which will in effect lead to better conditions of services.
“The best form of negotiation is for both parties to exhibit good faith within the context of what is affordable and equitable. I continue to hope that in our dons we’ll see that light and help bring the impasse to an end so that the education of our young people can resume in solemnity,” Akufo-Addo said.
“I assure you of the government’s commitment to addressing your concerns at all times. And I appeal to organised labour to give enthusiastic support and cooperation to the government’s programme of economic recovery. The government is determined to work with all stakeholders to steer through this crisis,” the President added.
He noted that building a “resilient economy is a collective responsibility we cannot shy away from but we must also exhibit good faith within the context of what is affordable and equitable.”
“Since assuming the highest office of the land, I have always preferred a participatory approach to build consensus to national issues. I, therefore assure you, my government has no intention of abandoning social dialogue in the implementation of policies and programmes,” Akufo-Addo said.
Akufo-Addo must show concern
Kwame Jantuah, a private legal practitioner earlier urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to be concerned about the ongoing industrial action by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG).
He said the president must intervene quickly because he campaigned on the basis of making education accessible to all, leading to the birth of the Free SHS programme.
“There needs to be an olive branch shown somewhere because it is not working. And I think that olive branch can be shown if the President comes in. This thing has protracted and I’m not saying the President should come in on everything. I’m not saying he should sit and negotiate – call the bodies together and ask the question; why haven’t you been able to resolve this because it’s gone on for a while?
“The students are suffering. Look at the money they’ve spent on bringing free education. It is a flagship and if it is a flagship, the president should be concerned about this flagship called education because this is not helping,” Jantuah stated.
Mobilizing domestic revenue
According to Akufo-Addo, there is an urgent need to enhance significantly our domestic revenue mobilization to realize our development potential, create opportunities for our vibrant and dynamic youth and improve livelihood for citizens.
He, therefore, called for the active involvement and participation of all, including the large informal economy.
“An economy in which only a small proportion of the population bears the brunt of direct taxation is unlikely to witness any rapid transformation.
“We have to make concerted efforts as partners to hasten our covering from COVID-19 by finding intelligent ways of bringing everyone on board to contribute their quota no matter how small. The government on its part has cut budget to ministry and agencies by 20% this year as its contribution as measures to ensure fiscal consolidation,” he explained.
National labour conference
The two-day conference is to reinforce a tripartite conversation on the dynamics and happenings on the labour front.
The conference, which is on the theme, “Strengthening Tripartism for Peaceful Labour Relations and Resilient Economy”, is expected to end with the adoption of a road map and a communique that will inform and shape the Government’s approach for the resolution of labour issues for the national development.
The Secretary-General, Trades Union Congress Ghana, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, acknowledged the devastating effect that COVID has had on not only Ghana’s economy but the world.
He commended the government on some steps taken so far to revive the economy and called for a review of the single spine pay policy.
“The single spine pay policy was introduced in 2010 to deal with the inequalities in public sector pay. But after over a decade of implementation of the policy, we are witnessing growing pay inequalities across the public service. Some junior officers in some public service institutions are earning much higher salaries than some senior officers in other institutions in the public service,” said.