THE Trades Union Congress (TUC) has welcomed government’s COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprises Support (CARES) programme, and other interventions in the 2020 Mid-Year Budget review, committing, “we are ready to work with government and all other stakeholders to design and implement these important initiatives.”
The Union said the programme had adequate solutions to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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,” the Union said.
The three and half year programme announced by the Finance Minister in the Mid-Year Budget review is designed to mobilize GH100 billion between 2020 and 2023 to revive the Ghanaian economy.
The CARES programme is set to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians, and to ensure that the country quickly emerges from the pandemic with a stronger and more resilient economy.
The TUC recalled that it had in May 2020 called on government to provide more stimulus packages to support businesses and workers, noting that part of the strength of the Ghana CARES programme was that had benefited immensely from wider stakeholder consultations.
TUC delighted over more support for small businesses
The Union said the increased funding to enable government’s Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme (CAP-BuSS) to support a lot more MSMEs “is a step in the right direction.”
It stressed the importance of the decision to extend support to larger businesses which were not covered under the CAP-BuSS.
“The support is needed to enable such businesses to weather the COVID-19 storm and retain their employees. 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,” the labour union stated in its publication.
National Unemployment Insurance Scheme
The TUC applauded the decision to establish a National Unemployment Insurance Scheme (NUIS), saying the proposed scheme presented an opportunity for assisting the current cohort of workers affected by COVID-19 and at the same time prepare the nation adequately for future crisis.
Training and retraining programme
TUC also welcomed the seed-fund for training and retraining of workers who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
“The training and retraining programme will allow a significant number of workers to upgrade their skills and competencies and enable them to return to the labour market,” the TUC said.
The TUC maintained that measures announced by the Minister for Finance in the mid-year budget review had come at the right time.
“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,” the Union said.