President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured Ghanaian workers that despite economic challenges facing the country, government will take all necessary measures in order to protect their incomes and pensions.
“Since the onset of COVID-19, which effects have been exacerbated by the Russia invasion of Ukraine, one of my major preoccupations continues to be the protection of lives and livelihoods. Indeed, it is a responsibility bestowed on me by the Constitution; and I want to reassure you that government will do whatever it takes to protect your incomes and pensions in these challenging times,” he said in an address to Ghanaian workers during celebrations of the international May Day held at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
It was held on the theme ‘Protecting incomes and pensions in an era of economic crisis; our responsibility’.
Despite the challenges, he said, no public sector worker has lost a job – which demonstrates the commitment of government to the well-being of Ghanaians.
The president noted that paying 15 percent of Condition of Living Allowance (COLA) to public sector workers in 2022 and the 30 percent increment in the base pay single spine salary structure of public sector workers in 2023 were signs of government resolve to protect incomes and pensions of workers.
“Indeed, the 30 percent increment on the 2023 base pay is the highest since introduction of the single spine salary structure in 2010, and it was made possible by the two 2.5 percent increases in Value Added Tax (VAT),” he said.
This increment, he said, will help mitigate the difficulty conditions workers are facing – largely arising from the effects of global inflation.
He urged Organised Labour to continue working with the tripartite body to conclude negotiations for public sector salaries and the minimum wage for the 2024 financial year as soon as possible.
On the issue of pensions, President Akufo-Addo noted that government acknowledges the challenges of low pensions resulting from relatively low incomes workers received during their working lives; and assured government will not act in any way to short-change the pensions of workers.
“Government is resolved to improve pension payouts effective first January this year, and all pensioners on the Social Security and Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension roll as of December 31, 2022 have had their monthly pensions increased by 25 percent. A significant improvement over 2022 of 20 percent, and also the highest annual increase since 2005,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo called on organised labour to support government efforts at restoring the economy, which is imperative to protecting jobs and incomes.
Dr. Yaw Baah, TUC Secretary-General, noted that as part of efforts to protect the jobs and incomes of workers, government needs to complete the review of Labour Law to reduce incidences of intimidation and discrimination.
He also appealed for a reduction in the size of government, and it should desist from spending on non-essential projects.
There is need for government to convene a national dialogue on the economy, so bas to build consensus on ways of building a more resilient one. The working people of Ghana and the various unions are ready to play their parts in the social and economic development of Ghana, he added.