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12.03.2007 General News

Govt policies in right direction, says TUC

By Yaaba Yamikeh

The Trades Union Congress has lauded the New Patriotic Party administration under President John A Kufuor for initiating a number of policies which are favourable to the Ghanaian worker.

The Union observed that government's policies like the National Youth Employment Programme, the National Health Insurance Scheme, decisions to re-denominate the cedi, end the neo-colonial relationship with the International Monetary Fund as well as review of public sector wages are all in the right direction.

Head of Policy and Research Division of the Union, Yaw Baah, expressed these sentiments at a meeting with members of its Western Regional branch in Takoradi last Friday.

According to Dr Baah, the NPP Government seems to be on the right path and it is up to Ghanaians, especially workers, to support it to develop the country.

He noted that it was about time Ghanaian workers disabused their minds of the colonial mentality that the country belongs to government and instead do all that they could to advance her development, given the fact that Ghana is the only country they have.

Ghanaian workers, he said, ought to commit and re-dedicate themselves to the course which led to the formation of the Trades Union Congress some sixty years ago.

The TUC man recalled that many were those who lost their jobs and lives during the struggle for independence fifty years ago and that it is now the turn of Ghanaian workers to rally behind the government to move the nation forward in the next fifty years. He said leadership of the TUC envisages a time in the country"s history when all workers will come together as a unified front under one formidable Union to partner government develop the nation.

Dr Baah assured workers that leadership of the union would continue to keep government on its toes by protesting against any policy which is not in their interest.. It was to this end that he said leadership has, among other things, expressed grave concern over free flow of goods and services into the country.

In Dr Baah's view, it would definitely not be out of place if the government restricts the importation of goods that could be locally manufactured.

He regretted that this open door trade policy has led to the collapse of many private and state owned enterprises in the country with factories being converted to churches. A typical example, he said, is the premises of the Word Miracle Church in Accra which used to be a cocoa processing factory.

The TUC Head of Policy and Research called on Government to capitalise on agricultural rights within the World Trade Organisation rules to salvage the nation's agriculture through the imposition of taxes on the importation of agricultural products like poultry and rice.

The union members, during an open forum wanted to know about measures being put in place by leadership to impress upon the government rehabilitate dying companies such as the Ghana Railways Corporation. The contended that GRC workers who played significant roles in the formation of the Union and the struggle for independence need not be given a raw deal.