Government to expedite action on Occupational Health, Safety Bill

Business News of Sunday, 12 March 2017



Bafuor Awuah ConferenceMr Ignatius Baffour Awuah (3rd left) with some dignitaries from SACCOS/credit unions

Minister of Employment and Labour Relations Ignatius Baffour Awuah has expressed the resolve of the government to expedite action on the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) draft policy bill.

He said the bill, which was designed to salvage workers from accidents and death, would soon be presented to Cabinet for onward submission to Parliament.

The bill, when passed into law, well create a comprehensive national framework for effective harmonisation of occupational safety and health issues in the country to enhance the well-being of workers.

Mr Awuah told the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of the 8th African Credit Unions (SACCO) leadership forum last Wednesday in Accra that plans were far advanced for the bill to be sent to Cabinet for onward submission to Parliament.

“When that bill is passed by Parliament it would also create an opportunity for many people to get employment because it mandates every organisation that employs about 20 people to hire safety officers,” he added.

The forum

Meanwhile, the forum, which was organised by the African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit Association (ACCOSCA) and the Ghana Cooperative Credit Unions Association (CUA) Limited, served as a platform for credit union leaders to discuss current issues, challenges and solutions facing SACCOS/credit unions across the continent.

It was on the theme: “Exploring the Strategies for Enhancing SACCO Competitiveness.”

In his address, Mr Awuah said the theme for the event clearly underscored the commitment of SACCO members to work together to promote the development of cooperatives in their respective countries.

The minister said the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations was in talks with heads of sector institutions and social partners in key areas which included employment, job creation and skills development.

 “Ostensibly, this is to give me the needed insights that would inform policy direction going forward. Among others, the areas include employment, job creation and skills development,” he noted.

He said he was convinced, after his engagement with the sector heads and other stakeholders that the development of the cooperatives was key in the pursuit of the government’s priority objective of sustainable job creation and poverty reduction.

Opportunity for leaders

For his part, the National Chairman of the CUA, Dr Charles Anane, said the forum was an opportunity for leaders to come face to face with people who had helped shape unions over the years.

“Our aim is to educate our leaders to enhance their efficiency in our service deliveries to our members and for the growth of SACCO members with the spirit, talents and education who choose to make a difference wherever their professions bring them together,” he said.

Calling for strong unions, the national chairman underscored the need for leaders to build strong unions in all African countries with the vision of touching the lives of the ordinary members.

“This forum is a meeting point for us SACCO leaders from different backgrounds with different experiences, but with the same aim to witness that an efficient, active and creative leader can make a difference even in the most adverse circumstances,” he said.