The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has issued its preliminary comment on the mid-year budget review and says the measures announced by the Minister for Finance in the mid-year budget review have come at the right time.
“TUC fully supports these initiatives and is ready to work with government and all other stakeholders to design and implement the important initiatives”, a statement from the umbrella-body of 18-affiliate unions in the country stated.
The extension of financial support to larger businesses, the proposed unemployment insurance scheme, and the training and retraining programme are timely interventions that will help ease the burden on businesses and workers in these difficult times.
It particularly applauded the decision to establish a National Unemployment Insurance Scheme (NUIS), saying the proposed Unemployment Insurance Scheme presents a great opportunity for assisting the current cohort of workers affected by COVID-19, and at the same time, prepare the nation adequately for future crisis.
The TUC recalled that in May, it called for additional stimulus to support businesses and workers and is therefore pleased and welcomes the Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (CARES) Programme.
“In our view, the programme has the essential elements needed to address the impact of COVID-19 on workers and households as well as on businesses in the short to medium term as envisioned under the Ghana Beyond Aid Initiative”.
TUC also lauded the increased funding to enable the CAP-BuSS to support a lot more MSMEs, saying it is a step in the right direction. Under the CAP Business Support Scheme (CAP-BuSS) government has rolled out a soft loan scheme to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) as part of measures to preserve jobs and livelihoods.
“Equally important and necessary is the decision to extend support to larger businesses that are not covered under the current CAP-BuSS”.
It indicated that without the support many businesses, especially those in the hospitality, manufacturing, private education, and aviation sectors, would in no time be forced to terminate the employment of a significant number of workers.
TUC also welcomed the seed-fund for training and retraining of workers who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Government also established the COVID-19 National Trust Fund which has so far mobilized over GH¢53 million in donations.
The Trust Fund has supported the procurement of PPEs and other medical items, COVID-related education and sensitization, studies on the impact of the pandemic as well as the construction of the very first infectious disease centre in Ghana.