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30.03.2007 General News

The poor get poorer

By myjoyonline
The Coordinator of the Third World Network, Dr Yao Graham has said that there are indications that poor Ghanaians are getting poorer.

He said a 2003 study showed that the numbers of the poorest 20 percent of the population had increased by a third percentage over the last six years.

Dr Graham was speaking at a two-day colloquium on "The Life and Times of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah” at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana.

The colloquium was organised by the African People's Platform and was attended by activists from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and North America.

Dr Graham said the poorest 20 percent enjoyed only 8.4 percent of the national income whilst the richest 20 percent enjoyed as much as 41.7 percent.

He said another study in 2002 by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development, a policy think tank found a frightening picture of mass unemployment and under employment and a perceived widening of the gap between the rich and the poor.

Almost two thirds of those interviews for the report described their economic conditions as bad.

Dr Graham said the need to create jobs and the reduction of poverty and marginalization ranked as the highest priority of respondents in the survey.

He said "in recent times there has been a rash of strikes over incomes and living conditions which have ended without the workers receiving satisfaction.

"Piece meal responses to the exodus of skills from the country have produced irrationalities and extreme inequalities in public sector pay policy which the Ghana Trades Union Congress has complained about".

Dr Graham was of the view that "in the rural areas where the majority of Ghanaians as well as the overwhelming majority of the poor live, economic insecurity in the country has an important specific dimension; growing landlessness and insecurity of tenure."

He said a 2001 study concluded that "insecurity of tenure affects a greater proportion of society than is generally recognised."

Culled from The Insight