General News of Monday, 8 July 2013

Source: Joy Online

TUC calls on gov’t to abandon failed economic policies

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has cautioned government over the general state of Ghana’s economy in the past few years.

The TUC said the economy has made no real gain in job creation and living conditions among others.

The Union during its general council meeting last month discussed economic management policies and current economic situation in the country.

In a press statement, the TUC detailed what it said is a regression of various sectors of the economy despite some gains.

According to the TUC, the economy in the last five years has made an aggregate improvement as measured by the 8.7% increase in the GDP and the relative stability in the inflation rate which shot up from 8.8% in January this year to 10.6% in April.

However, from their observation there seem to be no real gains in terms of employment creation and living conditions of the majority of people in Ghana.

The agricultural sector, the TUC noted, has performed poorly in these years with a decline in growth from 7.2% in 2009 to 1.3% in 2012.

“Although government made some interventions such as buffer stock management, fertilizer subsidy and youth in agriculture among others, the poor fortunes and slow growth of the agric sector do not reflect the interventions,” the TUC said.

According to the TUC, these interventions are either inappropriate or do not reach intended beneficiaries. It adds that the sector also has the least share of the Gross domestic product despite its huge workforce.

The TUC is also expressing concern over what it calls the spate of land grabbing by foreign nationals and governments for commercial farming mainly for export to their home countries at the expense of local farmers.

The industrial sector’s growth as observed by the TUC has been fuelled by oil and mining sectors largely but the sector is dominated by foreign firms and is highly capital intensive with limited job creation potential.

According to the Trades Union Congress, in the last five years the manufacturing industry, though dynamic, has had an erratic growth because of Ghana’s over-dependence on imports and very liberal trade policy.

TUC said it is concerned about the prevailing high interest rate which prevents local investors from accessing credits at affordable rates.

On petroleum revenues, TUC had reservations in their utilization so far. It said in 2011, 70% of revenue from oil was allocated to the national budget, out of this 87% was assigned to roads and other infrastructure.

It noted that, only one out of 16 prioritized roads in the sector was completed at the end 2012. But in 2012 also, over 232 million was committed to road infrastructure.

TUC accused the government of failing to allow the automatic adjustment mechanism to work although stakeholders had agreed to do so to avert huge one-off rise in tariffs.

The General Council of the TUC advised government to abandon all the failed economic policies that are based on targeting and managing inflation.

The TUC is also calling for greater transparency and prudence in the management of state resources.