09.06.2006 General News

VEEP urges striking workers to tread cautiously

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Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama on Friday appealed to workers in the public sector, who have embarked on strike to be circumspective about the consequence of their industrial action, whilst exercising their rights to pursue their goals.

"My humble appeal to our hardworking public sector employees, especially those in sensitive and essential public social services, is to insist on their rights in a manner that does not sacrifice the lives of the vulnerable sections of society, whose sweat and toil provides the foundation for the privilege of higher education," he said.

Vice President Alhaji Mahama, who made the appeal at the 40th Congregation of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi said legitimate as their grievances might be, they still had a humanitarian duty to be fair to the interests of the underprivileged.

He said although Ghana was going through challenging times, workers made things even more difficult, when they assumed entrenched positions in industrial relations, adding, "Employees deserve fitting rewards. But it is also compelling fact that the demands on the limited treasury are quite numerous and sometimes very urgent."

Shifting his focus to the over 800 cheerful looking graduates of his Alma Mater, who were dressed in academic apparel, he admonished them not to sacrifice the dream of a better Ghana for immediate gains in well developed economies.

"We have to be emboldened by our circumstances to use the knowledge we have acquired to explore new and innovative ways of satisfying national needs. That is how the attractive economies were built." He said people of ideas and courage persisted against enormous odds to develop the goods and services that generated the high paying jobs, which now look so attractive.

"Do please maintain your dreams and battle hard to make a Ghana that you can be proud of. A Ghana that your children can enjoy with quality education, affordable health care, adequate housing and abundant food," he said.

Professor Kwesi Andam, Vice Chancellor of the University, said Ghana had the human resources that could propel the economy into a middle-income status and appealed to the graduates to strive to raise the Gross Domestic Product hovering around 300 dollars to that of the US, which is within the range of 20,000 dollars.

Stressing on the need to minimize the country's brain drain menace, he said, " if you decide to run away, ignorance, disease and poverty will continue to afflict Ghana."

"May you go into Africa and redeem the continent to become one of the endowed nations of the world," he said, attracting cheers from the students.

Nana (Dr) Otuo Siriboe, Juabenhene and Chairman of the University Council, said Ghana could not make progress without industrial and technological strides and urged the graduates to lead the way. He asked them to be motivated by the challenges the country was facing and to contribute their quota towards national development. Nana Otuo Siriboe asked the graduates not to use the congregation as a farewell ceremony to live the shores of Ghana to seek greener pastures. Mr Anthony Owusu-Ansah, Spokesperson of the graduates recalled the pitfalls they encountered during the four years of their stay on the KNUST campus and pledged to use the experience they had gained to turn things round for the nation. The climax of the occasion was the presentation of certificates to the graduates, who lined up at the Great Hall of the University to receive their certificates, attracting cheers from their relatives and friends.

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