The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured organised labour that the policies and programmes outlined by his administration will set the nation onto the path of progress and prosperity.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the overwhelming vote of confidence given to him and the NPP in the 2016 election had everything to do with the belief that his government would revive and grow the economy and generate jobs in our country.
It is for this reason that, upon the assumption of the highest office of the land, the first priority of his government was to get the economy out of the doldrums and create the atmosphere for entrepreneurs to bring on the jobs.
“We, in government, have set about our part of the task with zeal. Our first budget, the Asempa Budget, has set out clearly the roadmap to bringing prosperity to Ghana. We have taken important steps to create an enabling environment for the private sector to flourish,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Monday, 1st May, 2017, in his May Day speech to workers, at the Independence Square.
“We have reduced taxes, including taxes on kayayei; inflation is on the decline; interest rates are on the decline; and relative stability of the exchange rate has been restored. The budget also reduced the fiscal deficit from some 9% in 2016 to a projected 6.5% in 2017, bringing Ghana back to the path of fiscal discipline. Macroeconomic stability, which is key to economic growth and job creation, is, therefore, being restored,” he said.
Government, the President stated, is also instituting policies to make it easier for people who want to set up businesses to do so and remove the impediments in the way of entrepreneurs.
“We must get more people in jobs and expand the formal sector of the economy. We are also upholding our social commitments. As from the next academic year, beginning in September, our Free SHS policy will kick into action. We are also making a determined effort to ensure the financial sustainability of the National Health Insurance Scheme,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo also outlined the innovative and urgent steps taken by his government to address the severity of joblessness in the country.
“That is why, in government, we have taken the step of rolling-out promptly the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, which I recently launched in Goaso, in the Brong Ahafo region. We are committed to ensuring that the target of 750,000 direct and indirect jobs earmarked under this intervention will come to fruition,” he said.
In addition to the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, the President noted that the one-district-one-factory, one-village-one-dam, the Zongo Development Fund, and the equivalent of one million dollars per year per constituency policies are all being pursued to stimulate job creation opportunities across the country.
Again, through the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, President Akufo-Addo noted that government is also in the process of reviewing existing Youth Employment Agency (YEA) modules with the view to introducing new employment modules, and expanding existing ones to create over 200,000 jobs for the youth.
President pays homage to organised labour
In paying homage to the role played by organised labour in making “today’s ordinary things possible”, President Akufo-Addo recalled the Haymarket Affair that gave the name May Day.
“Some people lost their lives so we could have the 8-hour working day and it took years of struggle before we could have Saturday as part of the weekend. The role of organised labour in our nation’s struggle for freedom and independence is written in letters of gold. Indeed, Kwame Nkrumah’s historic call for Positive Action in 1950 would not have succeeded without the active support of the trades’ union movement,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo paid tribute to “Pobee Biney, Vidal Quist, Anthony Woode and the other workers’ leaders”, who he said, have secure places in the pantheon of great nationalists through whose work and sacrifice we have inherited the free, independent Ghana of today.
“On this day, May Day, in the period when we are commemorating the 60th year of our independence, it is fitting and proper that we pay tribute to their memory and the memory and work of their successors such as Joe-Fio Meyer, John Tettegah, B.A Bentum, A.M Issifu, A.K. Yankey, Christian Appiah Agyei, Kwasi Adu Amankwah and Kofi Asamoah,” he added.