TUC backtracks opposition to IMF bailout

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has stepped down its opposition to Government’s negotiation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a program to stabilize Ghana’s troubled economy.

However the labour unions say they will resist any attempts to layoff public sector workers, which is a likely conditionality for financial and technical assistance from the Bretton Woods institution.

TUC Secretary General, Kofi Asamoah, said the Union has thought it prudent to soften its stance due the severe challenges facing the economy.

He said an assurance by Government, that the IMF is not going to tie a possible program to its own conditionalities but on Ghana’s home-grown policies and recommendations from the Senchi forum, has allayed fears of difficult conditions for TUC members when the program starts.

“Since the other way round is to revamp the economy by all means, we just can’t do otherwise than to accept their [Government] assurances”, he said.

The TUC – the main umbrella organization for trade union activities in Ghana – had in the past months protested against plans by the government to negotiate with the Washington-based lender.

The organization had maintained that the cause of the current economic challenges facing the country is due to failed prescriptions from the same IMF on the way forward for the country, hence there was no need to go back to them.

Mr Asamoah, however, said despite the TUC’s new stance, it “will resist anything that will be done to worsen the plight of the workers.”

“We definitely collectively resist”, he stressed.
Government last month concluded negotiations with the IMF at the staff level pending approval by the board of the Fund possibly on April 3.

If approved, government could get about 940 million dollars spread over a three-year period.

Meanwhile, President John Mahama says he is expecting  almost half of a billion dollars to be released to Ghana from donor agencies when Ghana finally closes negotiations with the IMF.

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