President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured Ghanaian workers that despite the economic challenges facing the country, government will take all necessary measures to protect their incomes and pensions.
Since the onset of COVID-19 which effects have been exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, one of my major preoccupations continues to be the protection of lives and livelihoods.
“Indeed, it is a responsibility bestowed on me by the Constitution and I want to reassure you that government will do whatever it takes to protect your incomes and pensions in these challenging times,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo gave the assurance in an address to Ghanaian workers during the celebration of the national May Day held at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
It was held on the theme, “Protecting incomes and pensions in an era of economic crisis; our responsibility.”
President Akufo-Addo who described the current global economic crisis as the worst in the last 50 years which had impacted every economy globally, affecting businesses and production, said government had managed the impact on the Ghanaian economy well by protecting lives and jobs.
Despite the challenges, he said, public sector worker had not lost their jobs, demonstrating the commitment of government to the wellbeing of Ghanaians.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the payment of 15 per cent of Condition of Living Allowance (COLA) to public sector workers in 2022 and the 30 per cent increment in the base pay single spine salary structure of public sector workers in 2023 was a sign of government’s resolve to protect incomes and pensions of workers.
“Indeed, the 30 per cent increment of the 2023 base pay is the highest since the introduction of the single spine salary structure in 2010 and it was made possible by the 2.5 per cent increase in Value Added Tax (VAT).
That increment, he said, would help mitigate the difficult conditions workers were facing, largely rising from the effects of global inflation and urged Organised Labour to continue to work with the rest of the Tripartite body to conclude negotiations for public sector salaries and the minimum wage for the 2024 financial year as soon as possible.
On pensions, President Akufo-Addo noted that government acknowledged the challenges of low pensions resulting from relatively low incomes workers received during their working lives and noted that government would not act any way to short-change the pensions of workers.
“Government is resolved to improve pension payouts effective first January this year and all pensioners on the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension roll as of December 31, 2022, have had their monthly pensions increased by 25 per cent.
A significant improvement over the 2022 of 20 per cent and also the highest annual increase since 2005,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo called on the organised labour to support government’s efforts at restoring the economy which was imperative to protecting jobs and incomes.
Dr Yaw Baah, the Secretary General, TUC, noted that as part of efforts to protecting jobs and incomes of workers, government needed to complete the review of the labour law to reduce incidences of intimidation and discrimination.
He also appealed to the President to reduce the size of government and desist from spending on non-essential projects. -GNA