It must tackle unemployment, economic decline – Labour Unions demand

The 2020 budget statement must come out with measures to address unemployment, economic decline and promote economic job creation.

Some organised labour and a section of the publict old the Ghanaian Times that there was an urgent need for the government to come out with pragmatic policies to address growing unemployment, economic decline and job creation.

They said the COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated the already bad economic situation in the country and pushed a lot of people out of jobs, and there must be measures to cushion the citizens of the growing hardship in the country.

The Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta is expected to present the 2022 budget statement to Parliament tomorrow in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Public Financial Management (PFM)Act 2016 (Act 921).

Speaking on his expectations, the General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) Ghana, Mr Morgan Ayawine told the Ghanaian Times that “2022 budget must address issues of unemployment and casualisation among youth in the country.”

He said the overtime tax must be abolished to motivate workers to put in their best to increase productivity.

“There is an urgent need for pragmatic policies to lessen the pronounced youth unemployment situation in the country arising from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in economic decline,” he said.

Mr Ayawine said unemployment problem continued to hunt the country and said the problem must be tackled with the involvement of stakeholders.

The General Secretary of ICU said the issue of casual work, which was prevalent among the youth, must be tackled, saying casual workers were denied job security.

In an interview with some section of the citizens to share their expectations of the budget, they identified the high fuel prices, high cost of living, and youth unemployment as the major concerns which should be addressed by the government’s 2022 budget statement and economic policy.

Frank Baffour, a public sector worker, described the current fuel prices as “abnormal,” and urged the government to address the problem.

According to him, the hikes in fuel prices had affected every aspect of life and increased the cost of living in the country.

In addition to the high cost of fuel, MrBaffour said he expected the government to come up with measures to save the currency from further depreciating.

“The budget should also address the road problems because the government earlier this year declared this year as ‘The year roads’. We expect to see some improvement in our roads,” he said

Kwame Dzifa, a resident of Kasoa, appealed to the government to acquire more logistics for the security services to improve on their operational efficiency and effectiveness. 

“I live at Kasoa and as the days go by, it becomes scarier as people are murdered with robberies and other unfortunate incidents. I prefer a peaceful country. I hope the budget will address this,” Mr Dzifa added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ofori-Atta in an interview with the Ghanaian Times last week assured that the 2022 budget would focus on job and skills training to help address the growing youth employment in the country.

“Clearly, the 2022 budget and economic policy will be intervening on access to jobs and skills set, making it possible to free people into enterprise,” he said.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE, ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI & CONNILOVE M. DZODZEGBE

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