The acting General-Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU-Ghana), Mr. Morgan Ayawine, has appealed to the government to put measures in place to cushion the people against the effects of the new taxes and levies contained in the 2021 Budget.
He said new taxes such as COVID-19 Health levy, increase in road toll, gaming, sanitation and pollution levy, including a one per cent increase in the VAT rate, were a sad commentary on the economy.
According to him, the development would aggravate the already precarious economic status of workers and the ordinary people and could also affect the government’s effort at job creation.
Mr. Ayawine was speaking at the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regional ICU-Ghana delegates conference at Abesim, near Sunyani in the Bono Region, last Tuesday.
The delegates discussed activities of the union in the region and also conducted elections for the youth, women and regional council of the union, as well as adopted resolutions for its upcoming 11th quadrennial delegates conference, which is expected to come off in Accra in August 2021 to elect national executives to steer the affairs of the union in the next four years, as required by the ICU constitution.
Mr. Ayawine said the financial sector clean-up exercise carried out by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) in 2018-2019 had already taken a toll on businesses and labour through the loss of jobs and livelihoods.
He said the union had to open its arms to some affected workers who were not their members to help them get their exit packages and other entitlements from the BoG.
Mr. Ayawine said it was also a wake-up call for workers to register with a trade union organisation to protect their interests.
On COVID-19, Mr. Ayawine asked workers to ensure their safety, both at home and the workplace, by strictly adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
He said despite the existence of the disease, the union would not shirk its responsibility of rendering quality services to members at all times.
A regional officer of the union, Mr. Ernest Yaw Otoo Addo, entreated the government to expedite action on the release of locked up funds of some rural banks to enable them to improve on their businesses to save jobs.
He said interactions with some of the affected rural banks indicated that if the government fulfilled its promise of freeing their locked up investment, they could turn the banks around.
Mr. Addo further explained that the conference was to enable members to reflect on the successes of the union in the regions, identify their challenges and chart the way forward.