Edward Kareweh, the General Secretary of the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union, has disclosed that entrepreneurs are making good profit in spite of the pandemic.
Speaking in an interview on ‘Managing workers’ compensation within a pandemic’, he revealed that some employers have benefited from the impact of the pandemic.
That notwithstanding, Mr. Kareweh revealed that some businesses experiencing challenges are doing their best. According to him, the introduction of the wages bill has deepened their plight.
“Employers are not being affected equally by Covid-19. In fact, there are some employers and workers that have benefited from the pandemic.
“Some employers have been able to increase salaries, some to the extent of over 10%”.
Government requested to set up system on wages
Touching on the issue of wages, Mr. Kareweh noted that government needs to set up a system that directs some wealthy entrepreneurs to pay the wages.
“We need to know who actually fits the wage belt, we need to interrogate it, we can’t just talk about generality. We need to know who is in when we do that, then we will be able to know who should sacrifice more.”
The total expenditure by government is projected at GHC 113, 750 million. This is equivalent to 26.2 percent of GDP for 2021.
On Friday, March 12, 2021, the Majority Leader, during the budget statement reading, explained that the amount “represents a growth of 13.7 percent”. This, he revealed is above the “outturn of GH¢100,052 million recorded in 2020.”
According to the Majority Leader, projected wages and salaries amount to GHC25, 799 million. He further averred that this constitutes 22.7 percent of the total expenditure for 2021.
With this, the wage bill is projected to be 5.9 percent in 2021 compared to the 6.5 percent recorded in 2020.
Salary increment not frozen for public workers
Following this, President Akufo-Addo indicated that salaries of public sector workers will not remain same for the next four years. This, he noted, is in spite of government adopting strict measures to revive the Ghanaian economy.
His comment was in response to concerns raised by public sector workers about the delay in reviewing their salaries upward.
Speaking at the 11th Quadrennial Delegates Congress of the Trades Union Congress in Kumasi, President Akufo-Addo assured that “salary increments for public sector works have not been frozen for the next four years”.
According to the President, the country is “not in normal times”. As such, he appealed to Ghanaians and organised labour to “assist the government in this endeavour to help rebuild our public finances and economy”.
The President also acknowledged the concerns some Ghanaians had with some of the new policies outlined in the 2021 budget.
“This [budget] statement appears to contain some difficult but very necessary set of action as evidenced by reactions from some quarters.”
In concluding, the President noted that he understood the plight of the workers with the introduction of taxes.
“I understand the concerns being expressed especially with regard to the imposition of some new taxes [introduced].”