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WE DON'T KNOW DETAILS OF EMPLOYMENT FREEZE IN 2023 BUDGET - TUC SECRETARY GENERAL

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We don't know details of employment freeze in 2023 budget - TUC Secretary General

Dr. Yaw Baah, Secretary General, Trades Union Congress (TUC), has indicated that his outfit does not have details of the government’s plan to freeze hiring in the public service as contained in the 2023 budget.

According to him, the TUC does not know whether or not this forms part of the conditions the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is giving to Ghana for an economic recover programme.

Speaking on Accra-based TV3, Dr Yaw Baah explained, “we still don’t have the details of the IMF conditionality but you will not be wrong if you think this is part of IMF conditions. Since 1965 when Ghana Government started going to IMF, the employment freeze has always been part, of the last one that ended, employment freeze was one but in that case, it was net.

“Net meant that if somebody retires you can replace the person. So, the net freeze is what we need. But this one, we don’t know the details, whether it is the net freeze or total freeze.

“If it is a net freeze then it is like the previous one but if it is a total freeze, it is another ball game altogether. There are 644,000 people on the single spine. Let us assume without admitting that about 5 per cent of them retire yearly.

“If only five percent retire every year, we are talking now about over 30,000 people retiring and if the 30,000 people retire and they don’t replace them it will affect service delivery. If you reduce numbers by over 30,000 and they have not been replaced then your effectiveness in service delivery will be affected.”

The government of Ghana through the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced in the 2023 budget a freeze on employment into the civil and public service.

According to him, the government will not set up new government agencies in 2023.

The minister while presenting the 2023 budget in Parliament on Thursday, November 24, noted that as the first step toward expenditure rationalisation, the government has approved a number of directives which takes effect from January, 2023.

These are “All Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and State-Owned-Enterprises (SOEs) are directed to reduce fuel allocations to Political Appointees and heads of MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs by 50%. This directive applies to all methods of fuel allocation including coupons, electronic cards, chit system, and fuel depots. Accordingly, 50% of the previous years (2022) budget allocation for fuel shall be earmarked for official business pertaining to MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs;

“A ban on the use of V8s/V6s or its equivalent except for cross country travel. All government vehicles would be registered with GV green number plates from January 2023; Limited budgetary allocation for the purchase of vehicles. For the avoidance of doubt, purchase of new vehicles shall be restricted to locally assembled vehicles;

“Only essential official foreign travel across government including SOEs shall be allowed. No official foreign travel shall be allowed for board members.”

Ofori-Atta added “Accordingly, all government institutions should submit a travel plan for the year 2023 by mid-December of all expected travels to the Chief of Staff; As far as possible, meetings and workshops should be done within the official environment or government facilities; Government sponsored external training and Staff Development activities at the Office of the President, Ministries and SOEs must be put on hold for the 2023 financial year; Reduction of expenditure on appointments including salary freezes together with suspension of certain allowances like housing, utilities and clothing, etc.;

“A freeze on new tax waivers for foreign companies and review of tax exemptions for the free zone, mining, oil and gas companies; A hiring freeze for civil and public servants, No new government agencies shall be established in 2023; There shall be no hampers for 2022; There shall be no printing of diaries, notepads, calendars and other promotional, merchandise by MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs for 2024; All non-critical project must be suspended for 2023 Financial year.”

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