The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Rockson A. Bukari has praised President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo for the successful launch of the Nation Builders Corps saying the programme is directly in tandem with the government’s job creation agenda.
The Minister who was speaking at the 2018 celebrations of International Workers’ Day, added that soon after launch, opportunities were opened to the numerous youth in Ghana to go online and register under the various modules of the programme. He said if the criteria for recruitment were met, some of these youth will be engaged under modules such as Heal Ghana, Civic Ghana, Revenue Ghana and Teach Ghana among others. He disclosed that an aggregate of about 100,000 graduate youth were targeted to be absorbed into the programme in 2018.
Mr. Bukari stated that Government was sure that if all the productive energies of the country’s people especially, the youth were mobilised, its ambition of a Ghana beyond aid would be achievable within the shortest possible time. As part of efforts towards that goal therefore, government had initiated moves such as the National Identification, the National Digital Property Addressing System among others to formalise the economy.
He also revealed that a five-year skills development programme had been approved by cabinet for implementation targeted at equipping public and civil servants with the requisite know-how to increase productive. This programme will also restructure the various sectors of the economy and position them to conform to modern standards and by so doing, boost their output.
The Minister commended Organised Labour for its support to government in delivering its mandate to the people over the past one year. He pledged that just as government and stakeholders were able to discuss and fix the 2018 Minimum Wage ahead of time, it had resolved to also work on determining that of 2019 in good time. Meanwhile, he said government was poised to fix the challenges on the labour front ranging from productivity to discipline and integrity.
In his welcome address, the Bongo District Chief Executive, Mr. Peter Ayinbisa Ayamga whose district hosted this year’s celebrations, called on the joyous workers to use the day as reminder of the efforts of the visionary founding fathers of trade unionism in the country. He said it was the turn of the workers of today to also contribute positively to the survival of the unions as well work to enhance their relationship with government in the coming years.
Mr. Ayamga announced with joy that, the Ghana Tourism Authority recently adjudged the Bongo District as the most peaceful district in the Upper East Region and therefore called on investors both within and outside Ghana to come and do business in his district. He mentioned the huge rock deposits in the district, clay deposits and the Zorkor dimension stones as natural resources worth investing in. He also cited the Vea dam recreational premises and the Apasitanga footprint site as a few of the tourism attractions in the district.
Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr. Yaw Baah in a speech read for him noted that out of nearly 13 million Ghanaians who were eligible to work, only two million had jobs that could be described as decent. Meanwhile, about 11 million Ghanaians were working under very precarious conditions without any better hope for the future.
Dr. Baah further noted that even the few lucky ones that were in some form of decent employment, were frequently threatened with redundancy exercises and lay-offs. He said for instance in 2015, a mass redundancy exercise at AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mines affected over 5,000 mine workers. Also in March 2018, there was another mass redundancy exercise at Gold Fields Ghana Limited, Tarkwa during which over 2,000 workers were sent home. He noted that sadly, those that protested were man-handled by military and police personnel.
Commenting on the theme for this year’s celebrations “Sustainable Development Goals and Decent Work; The Role of Social Partners”, the Secretary General said the purpose of the theme was to drum home the fact that, a strong social partnership charactarised by mutual trust and respect can achieve a lot for all stakeholders.
He called on government to ratify the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention 158 concerning termination of employment and to also review the Labour Act 2003 [Act 651] which will both give adequate protection to the Ghanaian employee. According to him, Organised Labour held a strong view that the unenviable unemployment situation in Ghana could largely be attributed to policy failure. He noted that over the last three decades, Ghana had religiously implemented free market capitalist policies and programmes sponsored by the IMF and that, these had a negative toll on the Ghanaian economy. He therefore pledged the support of Organised Labour to the Government in ending the current IMF programme this year.
Source: Peter Atogewe Wedam (ISD)