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18.05.2005 General News

Social Protection Strategy for the vulnerable

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Wa, May 18, GNA- Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment said on Tuesday that his sector Ministry, was in the final stages of drafting a Social Protection Strategy that would provide welfare services for the aged and the vulnerable.

Under the new Labour Law, the Ministry had also embarked on measures to ensure that the essential services that helped to improve the welfare of Ghanaians in the past were reintroduced. Mr Adda made these known when he opened the 22nd National Executive Council meeting of the Civil Servants Association of Ghana in Wa. The three-day meeting, which had the theme: "Providing a Sustainable National Welfare Scheme for Civil Servants", would evaluate policies and strategies of the association and project new policy guidelines.

He said the Ministry would set up a compensation unit that would undertake continuous research and analysis to support the development of an income policy and the setting of wages.

Mr Adda who is also the Member of Parliament for Navrongo said the country's fledgling democracy offered a unique opportunity for civil servants to re-assert themselves by behaving professionally and exhibit a sense of work ethics to promote efficiency and higher productivity. "The woes of civil servants worsened in the past because some civil servants have been coerced into serving in political positions while others sometimes turned themselves into pseudo-politicians trying to upstage their colleagues to win political favours."

He recalled that between 2001 and 2005 the minimum wage rose by 90 per cent from the equivalent of 21 dollars to 40 dollars a month after declining from 34 dollars in 1991 to 21 dollars by 2000.

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, Minister of State for Public Sector Reform said it had been recognised globally that the performance of the civil service was an important factor that determined the pace of development. He said: "If we want Ghana to become a middle-income country with a capita income of at least 1,000 dollars, our civil servants need to give appropriate support to the implementation of our development agenda at all levels."

He assured the civil servants of his preparedness to increase the opportunity for training and career development in the service. To that end, he would work with the Head of Civil Service to ensure that civil service colleges and secretarial schools would be appropriately equipped to give the right type of training.

"Let me make it clear that Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, has a duty to train civil servants and I intend to do everything I can to ensure that this happens regularly to enable them perform to today's standards," he said.

Alhaji Yakubu Ziblim, President of the Association called for the search for more innovative and sustainable methods of addressing the welfare and socio-economic problems of civil servants.

He praised the government for its acceptance to pay enhanced salaries ahead of negotiation this year, saying it is a move to ameliorate the plight of the civil servants in the face of economic hardships.

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