Increased productivity will attract living wages  

Abena Osei-Asare

Deputy Finance and Economic Planning Minister Designate Abena Osei-Asare has called for increased productivity to attract living wages for workers in Ghana.

She called for a national conversation on how to improve productivity for the nation to move away from minimum wages to living wages and eventual decent wages.

Mrs Osei-Asare, MP for Atiwa East, who served as Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in the first term of the Akufo-Addo Administration, was re-nominated for the same portfolio, when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo won a second term in the last December 2020 general elections.

Appearing before the Appointments Committee of Parliament for vetting for the positon, the Deputy Minister Designate said the negotiations by the Government of Ghana with the Committee were almost concluded to arrive at a new minimum wage for workers in Ghana.

Her response and assurance was in reaction to a question by Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader and Ranking Member on the Appointments Committee of Parliament, who observed that the Government has been silent in recent budgets statements on adjustments in minimum and public sector wages.

The national daily minimum wage is set by the National Tripartite Committee, headed by the Minister for Employment and Social Welfare, for all workers except the Armed Forces, the Police Service, the Prison Service and the Security and Intelligence Agencies specified under the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act.

The minimum wage rate applies to all of Ghana except the free trade zones where employers are free to negotiate and establish contracts of employment including wage levels that are consistent with ILO conventions.

National Tripartite Committee is composed of five representatives each from all social partners (Government, employer and the worker) and is headed by the Minister for Employment and Social Welfare).

The minimum wage in Ghana is determined on daily basis by the National Tripartite Committee. The Minister publishes in the Gazette and in such public media as the Minister may determine a notice of the national daily minimum wage determined by the National Tripartite Committee.

Minimum wage rate may also be determined under a collective agreement as long as its rates are higher than the national daily minimum wage, announced by the Government.

The Deputy Minister Designate, who had indicated to the Committee that her specific role as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Finance was to help in the implementation of budgets, explained that the COVID-19 pandemic last year could not help with wage negotiations.

Negotiations for this year should have been concluded by last April, she said.

The Deputy Minister Designate agreed that the performance of budget for the year 2020 in terms of fiscal deficit went beyond the projected five (5) per cent to 11 per cent, against 15.5 per cent reported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

She explained that the 11 per cent recorded did not include Energy Sector Debt and Financial Sector Clean up Debt, and the figures varied because every country has a different approach to reporting such debts.

The Deputy Minister Designate, a chartered accountant, agreed to a suggestion on her curriculum vitae that she was a director at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust.

She said the Trust would need to engage contributors to the scheme on how pensions are calculated in addressing complaints that the Trust had not been fair to clients in computing pensions.

Mrs Osei-Asare said the Trust was advised to restructure its investments in the period of 2017 to 2020, and indicated that the Trust still made investments since then.

She did not accept suggestions that the finances of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) was in coma, and announced that the Authority had cleared up payments up to the year 2020.

When asked if the authority owed service providers, the Deputy Finance Minister Designate responded,” they might owe one or two suppliers…. I don’t have specific figures.”

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.