– Appeals to all stakeholders to co-operate to ensure peaceful elections
The General Council of the Trades Union Congress (Ghana) has appealed to all stakeholders to co-operate to ensure peaceful general elections in December this year.
The council made the call in a statement at the end of a two-day meeting that constitutes the last meeting of 2019.
The statement, signed by Dr. Yaw Baah, secretary-general, and dated January 13, 2020, said the meeting, held between December 18 and 19, 2019, discussed important national and labour issues, including issues relating to the management of the economy, pension, revamping Ghana Railways Company Limited, public contracts, and the impending general elections in December this year, it said.
The council urged government to prioritize job creation and livelihood empowerment and called for a review of Ghana trade policy, which seems to disadvantage Ghanaians in favour of foreigners, reduce the cost of doing business in Ghana, and provide support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Concerns on new cedi notes
According to the statement, the council debated the introduction of GH₵100 and GH₵200 banknotes and their likely impacts on the economy.
It explained that some members of the council expressed fear that the higher notes could be inflationary.
It stated that the council discussed the Bank of Ghana’s explanation that the introduction of the higher denominations was intended to ensure convenience in business transactions, lower transaction and printing costs and reduce “deadweight burden” involved in business transactions within the context of a growing economy.
“The Council urged the TUC to continue to monitor the impact of the new denominations, particularly their impacts on cost of living,” it added.
On second-tier pensions, the council expressed worry about workers who are due to retire from January 2020 and who would have to rely on their second-tier contributions as lump sum.
Second-tier contributions have not been invested for a long period
The statement said one of the concerns was that the second-tier contributions have not been invested for a long period as envisaged.
This, it said, implies that the second-tier pension funds might not have generated enough returns.
Many unresolved issues on pension contribution data
The statement said another concern focused on many unresolved issues relating to pension contribution data, which will form the basis for the computation of the lump sum.
Issues about the computation
The council also touched on some key issues about the computation of past credit which will be paid by SSNIT and which remain unresolved.
“Given these challenges, members feared that retirees who will depend largely on their second-tier schemes for lump sum benefits may be worse-off compared to their counterparts who were paid fully by Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
“After a very intensive discussion, the council affirmed the earlier call by the TUC for a stakeholder forum on the second-tier to discuss and agree on the way forward.
“The council also reiterated TUC’s position that no pensioner should be made worse-off as a result of the pension reforms because the main objective of the reforms was to enhance retirement income and not to worsen it,” it stated.
Revamping Ghana Railways Company Limited
According to the statement, the council noted with satisfaction the efforts being made by government to revamp the railway sector, including pre-financing the contract for the construction of railway lines from Kojokrom to Eshiem.
The council called for timely completion of the processes, especially for the award of contract from Kojokrom to Awaso, so that other commodities such as bauxite and cocoa could be hauled as a means of sustaining Ghana Railway Company Limited.
The statement said the council was greatly satisfied with the agreement between Meridian Port Services (MPS) and Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to allow GPHA to handle 20% of container cargo at the Tema Port.
“This will have very positive effects on jobs and minimise labour unrest in the maritime industry.
“Council urged government to ensure that all public contracts are properly reviewed to reduce the venality and corruption that have characterised public contracts in Ghana and to ensure that we derive maximum benefits from our resources,” it added.
Source: Elvis DARKO, thefinderonline.com