President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured organised labour of the government’s commitment to protect incomes and pensions of workers.
“During last year’s celebrations at the Independence Square, I assured you of the government’s commitment to protect jobs, incomes and pensions of workers.
“Not only did the government demonstrate it in the course of the year, but it actually proceeded to improve upon the existing incomes of workers and pensioners,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo gave the assurance at this year’s May Day celebration which was held in Bolgatanga, the Upper East regional capital, yesterday.
The event, which was the first to be held in the region, was on the theme: “Protecting incomes and pensions in an era of economic crisis: Our responsibility”.
The President recalled how the government paid workers the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to cushion them against the prevailing economic challenges in the country after a successful dialogue with organised labour.
“As a sign of goodwill for workers, the National Tripartite Committee agreed to the payment of the 15 per cent COLA, in addition to the 10 per cent upward adjustment of the 2023 daily minimum wage,” he added.
According to the President, “this was no mean achievement as it was the first time in the determination of the national daily minimum wage after wage adjustment for the year had already been agreed on”
President Akufo-Addo further said that following a series of consultations within the public services joint standing negotiation committee, the base pay on the single spine salary structure (SSSS) was increased by 30 per cent, the highest since the introduction of the SSSS in 2010.
“This will help mitigate the poor conditions faced by workers largely arising from the effects of global inflation,” he said.
The President also said that effective January 1, this year, pensions were increased by some 25 per cent, adding that “all these measures demonstrate that the government is a listening one that is aimed at improving the lot of workers and their dependants”.
President Akufo-Addo urged organised labour to continue to work with the rest of the tripartite body to conclude negotiations on salaries of public sector workers, including the minimum wage for the 2024 financial year as soon as possible.
The President said in the wake of the current global economic crisis, it had become even more imperative to protect workers, saying “our collective responsibility in achieving this objective is important, and it is for this reason that I consider the theme for today’s celebration most appropriate”.
He said the prevailing crisis was the worst to have been experienced in the past fifty 50 years, and added that “in spite of the damaging effects of the economic crisis, we have managed to protect lives, livelihoods and jobs, and kept the lights on”.
According to the President, the government policy responses had been targeted at restoring macroeconomic stability, ensuring debt sustainability from short-term mitigation options, and addressing long-term structural challenges to pave the way for sustainable and inclusive growth and development.
On progress made towards securing a programme from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), President Akufo-Addo said: “After achieving a Staff Level Agreement with the IMF in December, 2022, in record time, six months after beginning the negotiations in July 2022, we have continued to work tirelessly to complete all prior actions required to present our programme to the IMF Executive Board for approval”.
He said the country had made some progress on the debt exchange programme, as well as engagement with bilateral creditors, to secure the financing assurances required for the IMF programme. “We are assured that the next round of meetings of the Paris Club will result in the formation of Official Creditor Committee, inclusive of China, and the provision of financing assurances.
“We are very confident that the approval of the programme will contribute significantly to the revival of confidence required to drive the successful implementation of post COVID-19 programmes for economic growth,” the President said.