General News of Sun, 4 Jan 20040

Executive asked to lead debate on wage policy

Accra, Jan 4, GNA - Participants at the 55th Annual New Year School organised by the Institute of Adult Education (IAE) of the University of Ghana, which ended on Saturday have called on the Executive arm of government for a policy direction to lead the debate on the payment of realistic salaries and wages.

A 21-point recommendation of the School on the theme, "A Decade of Constitutional rule in Ghana, Critical Issues facing the Nation," read by Mr Alex Kortey Addo, Resident Tutor of the IAE, Accra, also called on the Chief Justice to establish special courts to deal with electoral disputes during the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in December.

The recommendations touched on the sustainable use of national resources and the need for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to promote performance- based extension services.

The participants appealed to the government to rescind its decision to deduct 2.5 per cent of workers contributions to Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to Fund the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) since it would adversely affect payment of workers pension, in the long term.

They suggested that a flat percentage of workers monthly earnings should rather be deducted and paid to the NHIS while innovative mechanisms were put in place to collect premium from the informal sector.

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The recommendations tasked government to speed up the mechanism to firmly establish District Assembly sub-structures to make them operational and to collaborate with the relevant organisations to mount extensive campaign on the high cost of education and the need for cost sharing.

The 204 participants comprising professionals, public and civil servants, traditional rulers and students discussed topics like, Prospects and Challenges of the New Partnership for Africa's Development, Performance of Parliament in the Fourth Republic, Expectations of this year's General Election and Limits of Press Freedom.

A cross section of the participants told the Ghana News Agency that they were satisfied with the quality and constancy of the School. Mr K A Awotwi described the timing of the School as appropriate since it gave participants the opportunity to review events of the past year.

Ms Rose Assan suggested that all District Assemblies should sponsor at least a candidate each for subsequent schools.

Source: GNA

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