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General News of Thursday, 15 November 2001

Source: GNA

Structural Adjustment Programme has failed Ghana - TUC

Mr Kofi Asamoah, Deputy Secretary General in charge of operations at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Ghana, has noted that the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), introduced in the country in 1983 has failed.

The SAP, therefore, ought to be entirely reviewed and replaced with a new economic policy centred on Ghanaians as the engine of development prioritising the boosting of Agricultural production and manufacturing industry.

He said the SAP since its introduction had done untold havoc to workers by way of mass retrenchment, job insecurity, blatant abuse of human rights at workplaces, under employment, poor pension and mass unemployment resulting in social insecurity and armed robbery.

Mr Asamoah, who was speaking at the Ashanti Regional Council of Labour meeting being held in Kumasi, on Wednesday said these problems facing workers traced their origins to the rider of globalisation, that was, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

These institutions, he said, had insistently and consistently refused to agree to the inclusion of social clauses in International Labour Organisation's business agreements that ensured respect for workers human rights at the workplace.

The Unionist said globalisation was increasing the gap between the rich and the poor. This was because the policies that drive the globalisation process were largely focussed on the needs of business as demonstrated by the relentless drive to liberalise trade or remove trade barriers, promote privatisation and reduce regulation including protection to workers.

These had had a negative impact on the lives of workers around the world. "Again many poorer nations have been pressurised to orientate their economies towards producing exports and to reduce already inadequate spending on public services such as health and education to repay foreign debt and this forced even more people into a life of poverty and uncertainty", he added.

The TUC, therefore, looked forward to the government to initiate policies in which the worker would have a stake, to address problems of education, health delivery and housing for all people in the country, he stated, adding, "the workers of Ghana are ready to make their contributions to national development as we have done over the years, what we will not accept is to continue to make sacrifices while a few continue to enjoy".