President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on all Ghanaian workers to rally solidly behind his government as it leads the effort in creating a progressive nation.
“Since I became President, on 7th January, 2017, some three and a half years ago, I am glad to state that the relationship between Government and Organised Labour has been one of cordiality, co-operation and mutual respect. I continue to be reassured by the determination of Organised Labour and its leadership to rally behind government to create a progressive nation, buoyed on by faster economic growth rates, and driven by the quest for decent jobs,” he stated on Friday when he addressed the nation at a closed-door celebration of this year’s Labour Day.
The theme for this year’s celebration was “COVID-19 in Ghana: Impact on Employment and Working Conditions.” It was organised by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), in conjunction with the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
President Akufo-Addo said job creation is one of the priorities of his government, adding that his administration has so far put in place measures to honour this social contract.
“It is the thrust of the social contract, and over the course of our stay in Government, we have taken bold, innovative and urgent steps to realising this. Indeed, the latest Ghana Living Standards Survey states that the rate of unemployment, which stood at 11.9% in 2015, dropped to 7.3% in 2019. By the same token, our GDP has been growing over the last three years at an average of seven percent (7%) per year, up from the 3.4% we inherited in 2016. Ghana, in this period, has become the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in West Africa. All this, because our macroeconomy has been considerably strengthened,” he said.
The President, however, noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has threatened to derail the progress made by the government.
“The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in our country has meant that Government has rapidly had to implement a number of measures to help stem the tide of the spread. As I indicated in my 8th address to the nation, my single-minded goal is how to protect our population from the virus, see to the rebuilding of our economy, and steer the country out of this crisis,” he said.
Provisions so far
President Akufo-Addo said the government, through the GH¢1.2 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme, has provided hot meals and dry food packages to over 400,000 vulnerable families. He added that it has also absorbed three months of water bills for all Ghanaians, together with the electricity bills of all lifeline customers and 50 per cent subsidy for all other customers.
“Government has taken other measures. It has extended the tax filing date from April to June; through negotiations with the banks, we have ensured a two percent (2%) reduction of interest rates by banks, effective last month; and, additionally, the banks have granted a six (6) month moratorium of principal repayments to entities in the airline and hospitality industries, i.e. hotels, restaurants, car rentals, food vendors, taxis, and uber operators,” he said.
The President again stated that government is collaborating with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Business & Trade Associations and selected Commercial and Rural Banks to roll out a soft loan scheme, up to a total of GH¢600 million, to support micro, small and medium scale businesses. The loans to be disbursed under the scheme will have a one-year moratorium, and two-year repayment period.
Source: Daily Statesman