2023 budget: Prepare for more labour agitations – Gyampo warns govt
The government should prepare for more labour agitations since it is not ready to downsize, a Professor at the University of Ghana Ransford Gyampo has said.
Prof Gyampo noted that the government is unwilling to make sacrifices therefore, labour will also not sacrifice.
Discussing the 2023 budget presentation on TV3’s Key Points on Saturday, November 26, he said “Labour will not sacrifice for as long as the government is not willing to also sacrifice. Brace yourselves for more industrial actions.”
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has also expressed disappointment in the decision by the government to freeze employment in the public sector as announced in the 2023 budget statement.
Deputy Secretary General of the TUC Joshua Ansah told TV3’s Daniel Opoku in an interview on Friday, November 25 that due to the rising unemployment situation in the country, they were not expecting such a decision to be taken.
He further indicated that the TUC appealed to the government in the midst of the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) not to entertain any condition to embargo employment.
However, that has been done, he said.
“I think that it is unfortunate, already we have a teeming unemployment situation in the country and if 2023 there is not going to be any employment in the public sector then you can imagine what the situation of unemployment will be in this country.
“This budget was read yesterday and TUC, normally after the budget, we have our post-budget meeting where the committee for social and economic, and political organization committee meets to digest the budget and then advise the TUC on the way forward. So on Monday, God’s will, we are going to hold that very meeting then, immediately after that, we will actually announce our reaction or position on the budget.
“I am very disappointed because when the IMF team were here, that was something that TUC actually pointed out to the government that as for IMF they normally come out with conditionality and one of their conditions is to freeze employment and that is what we don’t want to hear. Unfortunately, it has come. So TUC will seriously digest the budget on Monday and come out with our position.”
The Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta announced in the 2023 budget a freeze on employment in the civil and public service.
He also said there shall be no new government agencies established in 2023.
He said these while presenting the budget in Parliament on Thursday, November 23.
Mr Ofori-Atta said as the first step toward expenditure rationalisation, the government has approved a number of directives that takes effect from January 2023.
These are “All Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and State-Owned-Enterprises (SOEs) are directed to reduce fuel allocations to Political Appointees and heads of MDAs, MMDAs, and SOEs by 50%. This directive applies to all methods of fuel allocation including coupons, electronic cards, chit systems, and fuel depots. Accordingly, 50% of the previous year’s (2022) budget allocation for fuel shall be earmarked for official business pertaining to MDAs, MMDAs, and SOEs;
“A ban on the use of V8s/V6s or its equivalent except for cross-country travel. All
government vehicles would be registered with GV green number plates from
January 2023; Limited budgetary allocation for the purchase of vehicles. For the avoidance of doubt, the purchase of new vehicles shall be restricted to locally assembled vehicles;
“Only essential official foreign travel across government including SOEs shall be
allowed. No official foreign travel shall be allowed for board members.”
The Finance Minister added “Accordingly, all government institutions should submit a travel plan for the year 2023 by mid-December of all expected travels to the Chief of Staff; As far as possible, meetings and workshops should be done within the official environment or government facilities; Government sponsored external training and Staff Development activities at the Office of the President, Ministries and SOEs must be put on hold for the 2023 financial year; Reduction of expenditure on appointments including salary freezes together with suspension of certain allowances like housing, utilities, and clothing, etc.;
“A freeze on new tax waivers for foreign companies and review of tax exemptions for the free zone, mining, oil and gas companies; A hiring freeze for civil and public servants, No new government agencies shall be established in 2023; There shall be no hampers for 2022; There shall be no printing of diaries, notepads, calendars and other promotional, merchandise by MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs for 2024; All non-critical project must be suspended for 2023 Financial year.”