Tema, Dec. 11, GNA – The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Group of Experts, known as the LAB, has engaged the leadership of the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) on the modalities of the party’s proposed 24-hour economy, tagged as a “National Game Changer.”
Led by Professor Danso Boafo, they discussed the “24-hour economy, focus on reindustrialization, and job creation,” sought to share the NDC’s policy transformation agenda with players in the industrial sector, and offered stakeholders the opportunity to make an input into the party’s national development agenda.
The group also included Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, NDC Election 2020 Vice Presidential Candidate; Nana Oye Bampoe Addo, former Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection and some leading members of the NDC.
The two groups also discussed challenges facing workers, industry, and the general socio-economic crisis in which Ghana finds itself, while the NDC Expert Group used the opportunity to seek GFL’s views and inputs into the next NDC government’s proposed policies to transform the country.
The meeting deliberated on issues such as the current economic hardships occasioned by economic mismanagement, the effect of high taxes and utility bills on industries, and the consequential collapse of some companies and layoffs of workers.
The GFL applauded former President John Dramani Mahama, who is also the NDC flagbearer for Elections 2024, and the NDC’s proposed 24-hour economy policy.
The GFL also made proposals on how the policy can be implemented effectively to enhance productivity and create jobs for the benefit of Ghanaians.
The leadership of GFL emphasised the need to support distressed and collapsed industries under the 24-hour Economy Policy for job creation.
Both parties agreed to collaborate in exploring solutions to current socioeconomic challenges affecting workers and Ghanaians in general.
According to the GFL, the Ghanaian economy had ground to a halt, causing massive job losses because of systemic failures of economic policies.
”Extinction of trade unions is imminent if the current trend of reckless management of the fragile economy is not reversed and the manufacturing industries across all sectors of the economy (formal and informal, including business in byproducts) employ not less than 60 percent of the labour force in the country,” GFL stated.
During a presentation, Mr. Abraham Koomson, GFL Secretary General, noted that the 24-hour economy would boost the manufacturing industry through direct growth in the export economy, a reduction in the demand for foreign currency, and a stronger cedi forex relationship.
Mr. Koomson noted that it would also lead to an increase in employment and provide an attractive investment environment for foreign direct investment.
Speaking on policies for “Economic Transformation, Job Creation, and Workers’ Welfare,” the GFL Secretary General noted that the Agro industry apart from food production, served as a source of raw materials for the manufacturing industry.
Mr. Koomson noted that, looking at the state of the deteriorated economy, the revival of these industries could not happen overnight.
However, “with the commitment of the NDC as announced by former President Mahama, appropriate measures and interventions as suggested by the Federation should be considered.
“We will hasten the revival of industries across the country to create jobs to enhance the growth of the economy. Governments worldwide give a premium to the manufacturing industry because that is the growth cycle for the development agenda.
“The manufacturing industry can only grow and produce the expected added value if investors have the assurance of investment protection, growth, and uninterrupted continuity,” Mr. Koomson noted.
Mr. Koomson said “investments in land, plant, machinery, and related equipment for the comprehensive package of the manufacturing business required that the investment needed not less than an assured continuous operational period of 15 to 20 years to recoup, all other things being constant.
“The current piecemeal granting of zero VAT for locally manufactured textile products is as good as the uncertainty that characterises the investment in the industry.
“The government ought to promote investment assurance in the industry, which will also make the industry competitive. An uninterrupted relief period carries with it the assurance that every investor desires.
“The imposition of unhealthy and treacherous indirect taxes creates an unfavourable investment climate.”
He said the imposition of outrageous indirect taxes like excise and levies resulted in soaring prices of goods and services because such excise levies inflated the taxable base of goods. Even those consumed by the school going pre-teen and teen ages were not proofs of GDP growth but a destruction to the parental financial strength.
Mr. Koomson stressed that the recent expanded inclusion of certain products in the excise duty regime by the government was noticed to be killing productivity, resulting in the laying off workers and the closing down of factories because of extremely low sales in the face of higher production costs, amongst others.