The Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union, Ghana (ICU) has expressed concerns over some directives in the 2023 budget.
The General Secretary of ICU, Ghana, Mr Morgan Ayawine, who raised the concerns in a press statement issued and copied to the Ghanaian Times in Accra on Thursday, said the union believed the directives were not only low points for the government but unfriendly to the socio- economic interest of the working populace and Ghanaians in general.
He said the freeze on employment “is most unfortunate,” considering the growing unemployment rate.
He added that “the bane of our country is the high rate of unemployment that requires deliberate policy and total commitment to address same, but rather government has opted to walk the path of a freeze on employment, a move which is most unfortunate”.
“Obviously, and is trite knowledge that the resultant unemployment arising out of this policy will have a negative ripple effect on the Ghanaian economy,” he said.
Mr Ayawine said the freeze on employment could never have any positive effect on the national economy but would rather exacerbate the already precarious economic situation in the country.
He called on the government to take a second look at the freeze on employment in the civil and the public service to alleviate the plight of the unemployed graduates.
On VAT, he said the 2.5% increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) specified in the 2023 budget has received a wide criticism from the general public as it bodes further economic hardship for the ordinary man.
“One would have thought that with the current economic hardship confronting the ordinary man on the street, government would have rather reduced or abolished some of the nuisance taxes to ameliorate the suffering of the ordinary Ghanaian who bears the brunt of the taxes, and not to worsen the tax burden on citizenry with an increase in the VAT,” he added.
The General Secretary said the reduction of the E-levy on electronic transactions by 0.5% was welcomed, but the removal of the threshold would not inure to the benefit of the ordinary man, “we therefore suggest that the government reconsider its decision on that”.
He commended government’s collaboration with Graphic Communication Group Limited (GCGL) to produce printing papers locally to feed the local market.
Mr Morgan said it would not only benefit the nation in foreign exchange appropriation for import of printing papers, but also create employment for the youth and maximise GCGL’s profitability.
“While supporting the laudable initiative, we hope government would walk the talk to enable the paper and print media count their blessings once again and continue to contribute their quota to the socio- economic advancement of our country,” he said.
In commemoration of the Farmers Day, the ICU-Ghana commended farmers for their good work towards nation building.
“Indeed, the agricultural sector which encompasses food and cocoa continue to remain the key drivers of the Ghanaian economy in spite of the oil found and exploration,” he said.
He said the nation could not have progressed without the toil and sacrifices of our farmers who opted to farm to feed the nation as opposed to clamouring for white-colour jobs as some of their compatriots do.
BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI