Coronavirus: No public sector worker was laid off - Ken Ofori-Atta

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Wed, 17 Nov 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The 2022 budget is code-named the Agyenkwa budget

Ken Ofori-Atta announced the scrapping of road tolls

Neither the president or his vice were in parliament for the reading

For the umpteenth time, the government has stated that it has not laid off any public sector worker due to the novel Coronavirus.

Ken Ofori-Atta, who is the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, made this known while delivering the ‘Agyenkwa’ budget in parliament.

The 2022 Economic Policy and Budget Statement, which is on the theme, “Building a Sustainable Entrepreneurial Nation: Fiscal Consolidation and Job Creation,” is in line with a constitutional requirement.

He explained how difficult a time it has been for the government to administer this country in the wake of the pandemic, stressing that the government, regardless, ensured that it put in place initiatives that made lives better.

“The hardships Ghanaians have experienced due to the COVID-19, is not lost on the government. We have been there with the people… and at the same time, supporting households and businesses and people. Our responses to COVID-19 thus far has earned domestic and worldwide acclamation as the president and fellow Ghanaians will attest to.

“Mr. Speaker, it has not been easy, and I know that from personal experience. The government has tried its best to save lives and cushion the impact on Ghanaians and we thank God for his grace and his mercy towards us. We empathize with families who lost loved ones during the pandemic, private school teachers who lost incomes for twelve months, business owners who lost earnings, the thousands of hospitality and health sector workers who were laid off, the slump in businesses built around traditional and other social events, the jobless young people whose strenuous efforts to find work have been further compromised by the pandemic, and the impact on our mental health and well-being which has also been profound.

“Our response was bold, decisive and compassionate but also costly. As a responsible government aligned to the concerns of the people, we have had no choice but to implement critical interventions to save lives and jobs, including feeding nearly 2.8 million people with hot meals,” he said.

Ken Ofori-Atta continued to explain the other major interventions that were made by the government to ensure that that the impacts of the health sector did not devastate Ghanaians the more.

“Mr. Speaker, to mitigate the health impacts of the pandemic, government also employed additional 38,000 nurses, tax exemptions worth GHc36.8 million were also granted to our frontline staff, while 10.1 million and 4.78 million households were provided with free water and electricity respectively.

“To facilitate the mass reopening of schools, government provided 11 million students and staff with essential supplies such as face masks, paper towels, liquid soap, and sanitizers, all at great cost. Cooked meals were also presented to final JHS year students in both public and private schools,” he added.

The Minister of Finance further stated that while all of these have had huge tolls on the government and the economic capabilities of the country, the government has ensure that all public sector workers have remained at post.

“Mr. Speaker, these have been expensive, but we knew that the cost of doing nothing and disrupting the education of our children for an entire academic year would have been even greater. I’m proud to announce that not a single public sector worker was laid off as a result of the impact of the pandemic and our public finances and we have been able to pay them monthly and we are grateful to the unions,” he said.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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