The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has asked the government not celebrate its macroeconomic stability achievement, pointing out that such a feat does not automatically translate into jobs or improve the livelihood of the people.
Addressing the nation on Ghana’s economy last Wednesday, vice president Mahamudu Bawumia gave figures to suggest the economy has in the last two years performed better than it was previously.
Justifying his assertion that the fundamentals were weak under the Mahama government, to Dr. Bawumia “in 2014, exchange rate depreciated by 31.1%, the fiscal deficit was at 10.1% of GDP, and the public rate rose to 70.2% of GDP, inflation had risen to 17% and GDP growth had declined from 7.3% to 4%.”
But the TUC in a statement Monday asked government to get over the neoliberal myth that economic growth, as measured by increases in GDP, automatically creates jobs and improves livelihoods.
“It is not always the case that when GDP grows, it means we are creating jobs. This is a fallacy,” the statement signed by Secretary General of the TUC, Dr Yaw Baah said.
The workers union argued this is not the first time that Ghana has achieved macroeconomic stability, noting the economy has consistently expanded annually but joblessness has also grown during the same period.
In the last two years that there has been relative macroeconomic stability, GDP growth has been led principally by growth in output of the oil and gas sectors while the industrial sector keeps declining.
“…available data actually indicate that the industrial sector is actually experiencing a decline in its share of total employment. Analysis of employment data in the last 30 years show that the sectors that have grown most and contributed significantly to GDP have actually lost grounds in terms of their share of total employment,” the TUC noted.
“This partly explains why despite the ‘impressive’ GDP growth rate, formal employment has decreased and informal employment has sharply increased its share of total employment,” it added.
The TUC said since GDP growth per se does not guarantee a bigger economic pie that will benefit everyone, government must initiate policies that will move the people “beyond perpetual stabilization and help link the stability we celebrate with the daily experiences of Ghanaians”.
It said GDP growth “must mean something” for the creation of decent jobs, decent housing, improved nutrition, better healthcare, improved quality of education, and improved sanitation facilities.
“The declining inflation must be felt when we buy a bag of rice, a pack of sachet water or when pay our rents. The trade surplus must mean something for the stability of the value of the Ghana Cedi. Economic growth must translate into improved living standards for all Ghanaians,” it stated.