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Opinions of Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Columnist: Amankwah, Kwabena

NDC Wicked Agenda Against Workers

VOTE FOR US AND LOSE YOUR JOB IN 2017

Kwabena Amankwah

What can be described as 'a wicked agenda' planned to be executed by President John Dramani Mahama and his National Democratic Congress government against Ghanaian workers under the International Monetary Fund bail-out programme for the country has been exposed.

The IMF Executive Board approved a three-year Extended Credit Facility programme for Ghana in April 3, 2015. The country is expected to benefit from a sum of $ 918 million under the facility, with $114 million expected to hit the coffers of the Bank of Ghana soon.

Even though government functionaries are excited about the facility, many analysts believe there is nothing to be enthused about with respect to the IMF programme, which in itself is an admission of failure by President Mahama and his government to prudently manage the economy.

One conditionality attached to the IFM programme, which has been agreed to by the Mahama administration, is a massive retrenchment of workers in the public sector, under the guise of public sector wage rationalization.

Terrified by the anger that is envisaged to greet the exercise, and how it would affect the NDC badly in the 2016 general elections, President Mahama and his government have negotiated with the IMF for a delayed implementation of the mass retrenchment exercise.

The NDC's 'wicked agenda' now is simple: 'Let's get Ghanaian workers to vote for us in 2016 while we send them home, jobless, in 2017.'

Mahamudu Bawumia, NPP vice presidential candidate, describes the NDC's agenda as: "vote for me before I fire you."

In his recent lecture at the Central University College, Dr Bawumia hinted of the mass retrenchment exercise planned for 2017.

"My understanding is that government wants the IMF agreement to delay the worker layoffs until after the 2016 election. I wonder why? I suppose the message is 'vote for me before I fire you'," he posited in his 70-paged presentation.

Meanwhile, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 2016 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, has given assurance that the next NPP government under his presidency will renegotiate the mass retrenchment exercise, if voted into office.

According to Nana Addo, while his government will be prepared to respect any binding agreement with the IMF, it will not hesitate to renegotiate any part of the agreement if it becomes necessary, especially aspects like the planned mass retrenchment.

On Joy FM's 'Newsfile' at the weekend, Asare 'Gabby' Otchere-Darko, former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, reiterated that an NPP-led administration would renegotiate the planned retrenchment exercise.

"So if you hear the leader of the main opposition party saying 'we will seriously look at renegotiating the IMF deal', I think that is basically what the NPP is saying. And I think they will have the space to do so because it is widely accepted in this country and outside this country that based on records that in terms of policy credibility, the NPP is better than the NDC, in terms of managing the economy," he stated.

According to Mr Otchere-Darko, the Mahama government has delayed laying off workers for fear of losing votes in the 2016 general elections.

He also expressed doubts about the ability of the country to receive all the money promised under the bailout in the next three years, stressing: "The fear is because there is a serious deficit in policy credibility."