The Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) has urged the Minority MPs in Parliament to stand with Ghanaians and prevent the approval of policies in the 2022 budget that could worsen the living conditions of Ghanaians.
According to a statement signed by GFL Secretary General, Abraham Koomson, the labour group is concerned about the posture of Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, as the law-making chamber begins processes to build consensus.
The GFL said it “has monitored with deep concern recent developments over the 2022 budget, and attempts by government through the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta to push policies down the throat of Ghanaians in spite of stiff opposition and calls for consensus building.”
Below is the statement;
2022 BUDGET: STAND GROUNDS ON KILLER POLICIES TO AVERT MORE HARDSHIP
The Ghana Federation of Labour has monitored with deep concern recent developments over the 2022 budget, and attempts by government through the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta to push policies down the throat of Ghanaians in spite of stiff opposition and calls for consensus building.
Incidents recorded in Parliament and pronouncements have exposed lack of decorum, lies, intimidation and the show of power exhibited by the Executive, which has further deepened suspicion and the division in the House after the Majority caucus overturned the rejection of the budget statement.
The scenes, which have gone viral across the globe exposes the decay in our governance system and the abuse of democratic principles, the rule of law and protection of public interest which further deepens public mistrust.
Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) condemns the incidents, because of the failure of leadership to safeguard the sanctity of the House by summoning soldiers who invaded Parliament on the eve of the election of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin in 2017.
The GFL urges MPs particularly the ‘Minority’ to stand firm, in the interest of the masses to scrutinize what appears to be gestures by Hon. Ken Ofori Atta as amendments, mainly to push through the proposed 1.75% E-Levy, which many experts have projected will further worsen the plight of Ghanaians if allowed the pass.
The Finance Minister is on record promising 11million jobs if the E-levy is approved. Government appears to be shortchanging the poor taxpayer using jargons and promises to fleece them yet is not being held accountable for failed promises.
In November 2020, Senior Minister Hon Yaw Osafo Maafo on behalf of the President, launched the Ghana CARES (Obaatan pa) programme.
This initiative which was announced in the 2021 budget, was to be a GHȻ100 billion post COVID initiative to stabilize, revitalize and transform Ghana’s economy to create jobs and prosperity for all.
The two phased project involved: a Stabilization Phase from July to December 2020; and a medium-term Revitalization Phase from 2021-2023.
This phase according to government will focus on supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youth into agriculture, building Ghana’s light manufacturing sector, developing engineering/machine tools and ICT/digital economy, developing Ghana’s housing and construction industry, reviewing and optimizing the implementation of Government flagships and key programmes among others.
As a labour Organisation critically following trend, we see these as mere jargons since there is no convincing evidence indicating a concrete strategy targeted at the objectives.
Again, the Finance Minister is demonstrating high level of impunity again by announcing revisions by government in the 2022 budget when a Committee set up by Parliament to resolve the impasse is supposed to be working on consensus building.
One would have thought that, following the chaotic scenes that nearly ended in fisticuffs, government and the Finance Minister would be cautious in their approach in other not to inflame passions.
We see the posturing as a clear display of power and an attempt by government to bulldoze its way through.
Sentiments on the ground are strong, public anger is building towards the political elite particularly government, which is at the center of the controversy.
We therefore call on the conscience of MPs and in this case encourage the opposition to take advantage of their numbers, in spite of the hung Parliament to speak the minds of Ghanaians.
There are still key issues that cannot be glossed over. The Agyapa deal, proper allocation of resources without discrimination and concensus through proper consultation remain outstanding.
We also call on all other stakeholders, CSOs, religious bodies, and Ghanaians as a whole to speak out and join the condemnation to save this nation for all and future generation.
FOR: GHANA FEDERATION OF LABOUR