|The Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress, Dr. Anthony Yaw Baah, has described the current economy of Ghana, under the leadership of President John Dramani Mahama, as an ‘abnormal economy’.
According to the TUC boss, “inflation remains very high, interest rate is abnormally high, probably the highest in the world. That doesn’t help our employers to borrow money form the banks. If you have a situation in the country where it is only the banks that are making profit, it is not normal.”
Dr. Anthony Yaw Baah was addressing a meeting between the TUC and Nana Akufo-Addo, when the latter paid a courtesy call on the workers’ union at its headquarters on Monday, October 31, 2016, to interact with the TUC leadership, as well as outline policies and programmes intended to solve the myriad of problems confronting the nation.
The TUC boss noted even though Ghana’s budget deficit is reducing, it still remains high, adding that “we have huge trade deficits, and weaknesses in trade policies, investment policies, procurement policies and macroeconomic policies. All these weaknesses need urgent attention.”
With about 80% of all new foreign investments that come into Ghana located in Accra, Takoradi and Kumasi, Dr. Yaw Baah described the phenomenon as “not normal. So we are interested in finding out what your government will do about these challenges, especially on interest rates. Our economy is not normal.”
On the issue of the high interest rates prevailing in Ghana, the TUC boss cited an example of a colleague who went to the bank for a loan of GH¢54,000 to purchase a vehicle, only to be told he would end up repaying some GH¢68,000 after 5 years.
“If you live in country like that, how can businesses borrow money, invest, and make profit, so they can expand? They can’t. We live in a very abnormal economy and we are hoping that things change for us, because we are suffering as workers of Ghana,” he added.
Lamenting the high rates of unemployment in the country, Dr. Yaw Baah noted that “most jobs being created in Ghana are informal jobs. Our members are suffering from job insecurity, income insecurity is pervasive, (and there is) joblessness among the youth. Our children graduate from the universities and we are not sure they can get jobs.”
He continued, “Our education is in trouble, our national health insurance scheme is in trouble, corruption is pervasive. We have a situation where over 300 state assets have been privatized and we are still privatizing. We have challenges with our 3-tier pension system, and we don’t know the future of the scheme. Poverty is killing Ghanaians,” he added.
The TUC boss added further that “the effects of free trade is killing local us. Almost everything under the sun is being allowed to come into this country. Our jobs are being taken away to China… our real wages are not enough, and we have some employers violating the rights of workers.”
The TUC boss also expressed grave worry about the poor state of Ghanaian roads, which he stated, accounts for the rising numbers of motorists killed in road accidents, with some 2,000 people dying as a result of road accidents.
Stressing that the TUC is not partisan, Dr. Yaw Baah indicated that “we are not apolitical. We are interested in the policies you and other political parties have for this country.”