TUC demands immediate end to IMF deal extension

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GOVERNMENT should with immediate effect end Ghana’s programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is demanding.

In a release following its General Council discussions, the TUC maintained that austere conditions attached to the deal will suppress employment in the public sector.
“We still hold the view that the IMF-sponsored austerity measures will not help us to achieve this aim,” the TUC said.

The Union called on government to consider the ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 122 (1964) concerning Employment and Economic Development Policy to guide the country’s social and economic development.

Ghana entered into the three-year programme with the IMF on April 2015 for a total amount $918 million which was expected to be disbursed in eight equal tranches.

The programme aims to restore debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability in the country to foster a return to high growth and job creation while protecting social spending.

A total of eight reviews are expected before the programme comes to a close however Ghana has only seen only three with the fourth review hanging.

The delay in the fourth review is on account of some challenges that rocked the implementation of the three-year programme in the run-up to the 2016 general elections.

Ghana’s debt ballooned to unsustainable levels , fiscal deficit went out of bounds, while the cedi experienced increased turbulence, significantly reducing investor appetite.

At the General Council meeting, the labour unions agreed that the policies outlined in the 2017 Budget were good enough for job creation and economic growth, hence the need to shelve plans for the renewal of the IMF bailout.

The TUC has been a strong critic of the IMF deal since it was signed in 2015.

The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) is on record to have demanded full disclosure on the details any planned extension of the country’s programme with the Fund.

The ICU wondered “what does the extension seek to do? Will the programme now allow our teachers and nurses to gain employment? Are we going to add more loans to what we have already taken?”

According to the ICU, wherever the IMF goes, public sector workers and the business community bear the brunt of the austere regime they impose because they freeze employment, control wages and supervise fiscal rigidity that stall growth by contracting economic activities, thereby stifling the economy.

Source: Isaac Aidoo || The Finder

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