Our economy deformed, failing – TUC

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He mentioned particularly the telecom companies which, because of the nature of their business operations, did not bring in foreign currency beyond their initial capital requirements, yet “at the same time these companies generate so much domestic revenue and they are super-profitable”.

“They are foreign owned, which also  means that they need to transfer profit to their shareholders in London, Johannesburg and other foreign destinations. And they definitely cannot transfer the cedis they generate in large quantities on a daily basis. What they do is to exchange those cedis for the dollars our hardworking cocoa farmers bring in,“ he said.

Such a development, he said, had serious consequences on the growth of the cedi. 

“In such a situation as we find ourselves, the grand depreciation of the cedi against all major international currencies is only a matter of course. No currency can withstand such onslaught,” he warned. 

Flowing from the development, Mr Asamoah said, the measures by the Bank of Ghana to revive the ailing cedi were only a representation of panic reaction that woefully failed to tackle the symptoms. Economic policies

He said once Ghana had pursued economic policies that gave room for “attacks” from all angles, there was bound to be challenges within the economy.

“The economic policies have led to unbridled liberalisation of the economy, made import trade super lucrative, reduced domestic production and reduced the economy to buying and selling.

The TUC boss also touched on the country’s trade deficit and attributed it to factors including foreigners’ control of the bulk of Ghana’s exports which were raw materials.

“Foreigners own the gold mines and other solid mining concerns. The Jubilee oil is over 80 per cent owned by foreign companies and it is important that these companies have been guaranteed the right to retain over 80 per cent of their earnings outside the country.

“Effectively, however, some of them keep over 90 per cent of their earnings in offshore accounts. This means that of the over 40 per cent of our export revenues that come from gold, no more than 20 per cent of that gets retained in the country,” he said. GDP 

Mr Asamoah said it was sad that the country’s policy makers kept pointing at GDP growth as a sign of national development when it was clear such growth did not contribute to employment creation.

“They are pointing to our middle-income status when they know that we have come into middle income with all the characteristics of a lower-income country, paying the lowest wage rates with deteriorating social indicators,” he said. The worker

The TUC Secretary General observed that the difficulties confronting the Ghanaian worker had accumulated over many years and had only come to a head around this time .

Mr Asamoah said the current difficulties, challenges  and crisis had come as no surprise to labour. 

In a statement, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Nii Armah Ashietey, called on workers in the country to support the government’s vision and commitment over the medium term to build a prosperous and equitable society in pursuance of a common goal of advancing the ‘Better Ghana’ agenda.

That vision, he said, was anchored on the commitment to put people first, a strong and resilience economy, expanding infrastructure and transparent and accountable governance.

The  minister commended the workers for looking beyond their usual expectations from employers to having a dialogue on Ghana’s economy. 

He extended the President’s message of congratulation in advance to all workers in Ghana, both in the formal and the informal sectors, who had contributed their best to the development of the country .

Nii Ashietey noted that the government was focused on growth within an environment of economic stability.

He explained that to the worker it meant that if stability was maintained and the positive trend continued, the government would be able to afford demands for pay increases which implied that workers’ incomes would automatically increase.

Nii Ashietey appealed to workers to exercise patience while the National Tripartite  Committee worked assiduously  to finalise negotiations on the new National Daily Minimum Wage.

The Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Mr P.V. Obeng, called for peaceful interchange of ideas and civil debate to achieve development.

He indicted Tema for losing its status as a port city and experiencing decline in both infrastructure and beauty.

He said the Tema Development Corporation and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly would need to form a partnership to change the face of Tema.

On the economy, Mr Obeng said Ghana was going through a crisis of transition because domestic and development partners were withdrawing support for poorer nations.

He observed that the ability to manage the crisis had created hardships. Other speeches

The workers, in various speeches, called on the government to revamp the Tema Oil Refinery and allow it to independently work to make profit.

They also took the decision to fight against the creation of a free port at Atuabo.

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