Hiring freeze to make 2023 a tough year – GNAT President

President of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT)  Rev Isaac Owusu has said that 2023 is likely to be a very tough year. 

This, he said, is due to the hiring freeze that was announced by the Finance Minister in the 2023 budget statement.

Speaking on the Sunrise show with Alfred Ocansey on Tuesday November 29, Rev Owusu said “If we don’t take care 2023 will be difficult as compared to now due to the new developments coming up with employment.”

The Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Dr Yaw Baah has also said that net freeze on employment into the public sector is better than total embargo.

He explained that net freeze is when retirees are replaced when they exit. This, he said, allows productivity and efficiency to go on.

Total freeze on the other hand, he added, is when the retirees are not replaced neither are new employees recruited. That will be detrimental to productivity hence, they do not want that to happen.

Speaking in an interview with TV3’s Daniel Opoku on the sidelines of a post budget analyses forum held by the TUC in Accra on Monday November 28, Dr Yaw Baah said “we still don’t have the details of the IMF conditionality but you will not be wrong if you think this is part of IMF conditions. Since 1965 when Ghana Government started going to IMF, employment freeze has always been part, in the last one that ended, employment freeze was one but in that case it was net.

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“Net meant that if somebody retires you can replace the person. So the net freeze is what we need. But this one, we don’t know the details, whether it is the net freeze or total freeze.

“If it is a net freeze then it is like the previous one but if it is a total freeze it is another ball game all together. There are 644,000 people on the single spine. Let us assume without admitting that about 5 per cent of them retire yearly.

“If only five percent retire every year, we are talking now about over 30,000 people retiring and if the 30,000 people retire and they don’t replace them  it will affect service delivery. If you reduce numbers by over 30,000 and they are not replaced then your effectiveness in service delivery will be affected.”

The Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta announced in the 2023 budget a freeze on employment into the civil and public service.

He also said there shall be no new government agencies established in 2023. He said these while presenting the budget in Parliament on Thursday November 23.

Mr Ofori-Atta said as a first step toward expenditure rationalisation, government has approved a number of directives which takes effect from January, 2023.

These are “All Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and State-Owned-Enterprises (SOEs) are directed to reduce fuel allocations to Political Appointees and heads of MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs by 50%. This directive applies to all methods of fuel allocation including coupons, electronic cards, chit system, and fuel depots. Accordingly, 50% of the previous years (2022) budget allocation for fuel shall be earmarked for official business pertaining to MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs;

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“A ban on the use of V8s/V6s or its equivalent except for cross country travel. All
government vehicles would be registered with GV green number plates from
January 2023; Limited budgetary allocation for the purchase of vehicles. For the avoidance of doubt, purchase of new vehicles shall be restricted to locally assembled vehicles;

“Only essential official foreign travel across government including SOEs shall be
allowed. No official foreign travel shall be allowed for board members.”

The Finance Minister added “Accordingly, all government institutions should submit a travel plan for the year 2023 by mid-December of all expected travels to the Chief of Staff;  As far as possible, meetings and workshops should be done within the official environment or government facilities; Government sponsored external training and Staff Development activities at the Office of the President, Ministries and SOEs must be put on hold for the 2023 financial year; Reduction of expenditure on appointments including salary freezes together with suspension of certain allowances like housing, utilities and clothing, etc.;

“A freeze on new tax waivers for foreign companies and review of tax exemptions for free zone, mining, oil and gas companies; A hiring freeze for civil and public servants, No new government agencies shall be established in 2023; There shall be no hampers for 2022;  There shall be no printing of diaries, notepads, calendars and other promotional, merchandise by MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs for 2024;  All non-critical project must be suspended for 2023 Financial year.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana