Dr Yaw Baah (seated 2nd from right), Secretary- General, TUC, with John Dramani Mahama (seated 3rd from right), Flag bearer of the NDC; Johnson Asiedu Nketia (seated right), General Secretary of the NDC, and other officials after the meeting. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
Dr Yaw Baah (seated 2nd from right), Secretary- General, TUC, with John Dramani Mahama (seated 3rd from right), Flag bearer of the NDC; Johnson Asiedu Nketia (seated right), General Secretary of the NDC, and other officials after the meeting. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA

NDC will reverse declining economy — Mahama

The next National Democratic Congress (NDC) government will introduce a 24-hour economy work schedule to put the economy back on track, former President John Dramani Mahama has said.

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In a meeting with the leadership of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Accra yesterday, Mr Mahama said the 24-hour economy strategy would enable businesses with the support of the government to run a 24-hour shift that would deal with the unemployment situation and increase the economic fortunes of the country.

The flag bearer of the NDC, who was accompanied by a strong force of party leadership and bigwigs, including his running mate for the 2020 general election, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang; the Minority Leader, Casiel Ato Forson; the Chairman of the party, Johnson Asiedu Nketia; the General Secretary, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, and former Gender Minister, Nana Oye Bampoe, said the initiative was also part of the transformational measures to be introduced by the party when voted into power to deal with the declining fortunes of the economy.

“We intend to implement a 24-hour economy, and by this, we will provide incentives in terms of reduction in corporate taxes and other exemptions to businesses that would sign up to the 24-hour economy initiative.

We would provide them with the necessary security to enable them to operate for these long hours,” he indicated.

The former President indicated that economic hardship through the high inflation rate, high cost of living, destruction of jobs, debt crisis and adverse impact on investors were some of the negative effects of the current government’s “stale policies”.

Mr Mahama said there must be an end to the decline of the economy to usher in a restoration of stability so that citizens and people could breathe a sigh of relief, and not have their little incomes eroded further by inflationary pressures.

He said for the past few years, the NDC had been proposing policies that could stop the speedy decline of the economy, turn it around and stabilise it.

“We would focus on substantial government issues to get the job done by delivering realistic measures to get the economy back. 

Transitional measures

Among the transitional measures to address the economic decline and set Ghana on the path to recovery, Mr Mahama said the new government would shift attention from the macro economy to the micro level and focus on growth in the real sector instead of focusing just on macroeconomic stability.

He said the NDC would update the 40-year development plan, and see to its implementation, reduce borrowing, implement infrastructure products that were self-financing, and not a burden on the public purse; limit the central bank’s financing of the government and reform the Bank of Ghana (BoG).

He added that the government would also tighten legislation to put a cap on debt accumulation and prevent reckless borrowing, re-establish the sinking fund to smoothen debt repayment obligations, stop the collateralisation of statutory funds such as the GETFund and District Assemblies Common Fund, and reduce the size and cost of government.

Additionally, the former President said, there would be a review to eliminate ex gratia in its current form, and to discontinue the payment of utility bills, fuel, DSTV and others as part of top government employees’ service conditions.

“The recent misuse of public funds by government officials demands more creative and stricter measures to prevent further financial losses.

We would introduce stricter financial management regulations and guidelines to prevent the over GH¢17 billion that was lost in annual financial irregularities,” he further said.

On support for businesses, Mr Mahama said the government would pass local content laws to give Ghanaian registered businesses an advantage, especially in the extractive and agricultural sectors.

He said there would be policies to support large-scale commercial production to achieve food sufficiency, and that businesses would be given incentives to produce rice, sugar, tomato, frozen fish, poultry, meat products, vegetable cooking oils, and local pharmaceuticals.

Collaboration

The meeting with the TUC, the former President said, was important because it would deepen their collaboration and help the two sides to work together towards their common desire to build the better Ghana for all.

As social democrats, he said, the NDC — like the TUC — believed in social justice and equity, and, therefore, shared a common objective with organised labour to prioritise the well-being of the working class and ordinary people.

“I believe that today’s interaction will mark the beginning of even deeper relations to safeguard our common interest and ensure a better future for the working people of our country.

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“Just as no economy can survive without prioritising the well-being of its workers, we, as social democrats recognise the need to design policies that accommodate the growth of business and industries, and at the same time protect the interest of workers and their unions,” he said.

Former President Mahama said the NDC government would help the TUC to expand its scope by increasing its investment and to establish new joint businesses and enterprises with third parties to also provide employment to the people.

The former President, who received the first copy of the TUC’s Workers’ Manifesto, said the party would study the document carefully and incorporate the relevant information into the party’s People’s Manifesto.

TUC engagement

The TUC Secretary-General, Dr Yaw Baah, said the meeting was a platform created by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) to enable the TUC to engage with political parties on its Workers’ Manifesto to promote the welfare of Ghanaians, especially workers.

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The Workers Manifesto, he said, had five policy areas the TUC intended to push for political parties to adopt to ensure the well-being of the people.

Those areas are social policies that focus on human development, economic policies, labour market, energy and power, and governance.

Dr Baah mentioned food security, affordable housing, access to water and proper sanitation as some areas governments needed to tackle under the social policies.

On the economic policy, he said the current policy did not focus on job creation, which, he said, had been a challenge to the development of the country.

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The TUC Secretary-General mentioned the need to change the macroeconomic policy framework, fight inflation, change the role of the BoG, look at the trade policy which, he said, gave advantage to foreign companies over their local counterparts, and to protect infant industries in Ghana.

He welcoed the NDC’s 24-hour economy strategy, saying it would be a game-changer in dealing with unemployment and growth of the economy.
Dr Baah said the TUC would also engage the New Patriotic Party on its workers’ manifesto.

The TUC Secretary-General was accompanied by the Chairman of the congress, Alex Nyarko-Opoku, and the Programmes Coordinator of FES-Ghana, Ebow Mensah.

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