President to address May Day celebration in Bolgatanga

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to address this year's May Day celebration in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital.

Annually, May 1 is celebrated as Labour or Workers Day across the world to recognise and appreciate the contributions of labour in nation building across the globe.

This year's celebration would be on the theme: 'Protecting incomes and pensions in an era of economic crisis: Our responsibility.'

Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, who confirmed the President's participation in the celebration to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Bolgatanga, said 'All is set to receive the President for the occasion.'

He noted that the President had frequently visited the Region, and it was therefore not a surprise that the Upper East Region was chosen for the National May Day celebration, adding that the tourism industry would be boosted.

'All our major hotels in the Region are full, and that will increase incomes of the business community. In fact, apart from the May Day celebration, since I became Minister, the Region hosted National conferences of the Ghana Bar Association, the Ghana Medical Association, the Medical Laboratory Professional Workers Union among others,' he said.

Mr Yakubu reiterated the need for residents in the Region to live in peace to attract more conferences and National events to boost tourism and businesses.

Leaderships of some labour Unions, especially the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) and the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) made appeals and shared their expectations from government in this year's celebration.

Mr Samuel Alagkora Akolgo, the First Vice President of the GRNMA, appealed to government to reconsider its decision to rope in pension funds onto the Domestic Debt Exchange programme.

He said the Social Protection system in Ghana, especially for the aged was not the best, 'So if people save their money with the hope that they will use that to sustain their lives, and this programme will affect them, we do not think that is fair.'

Mr Akolgo appealed to the President to assure the people that pensioners who had been complaining about their locked up investments would be exempted.

He said the cost of living and taxes had increased after labour negotiated the salaries of workers for 2023.

'Obviously, these were not factored into the negotiation and now that some of these things are coming up, we expect government to work out a package to compensate workers for the introductions of some of these taxes,' he said.

He said it was the expectation of the Association government would address inflation rate in the country which he noted affected market prices of items.

'A lot of workers spend their money mostly on food, so inflation influences the food component so much. This means the purchasing power of the ordinary worker will be reduced.

'So we expect the President to announce measures that will curtail the high inflation we are experiencing now. From the data, we are hovering above 40 per cent, which is not good for planning,' Mr Akolgo said.

Mr Charles A. Ateem, the Bolgatanga Municipal Chairman of GNAT said 'For us as Teachers, we need better conditions of service. We expect the President to tell us what the government is doing to better our conditions of service.'

On Housing Scheme for Ghanaian workers, Mr Ateem recalled that President Akufo-Addo cut the sod for the construction of a 120 affordable housing unit to ease the housing deficit in the Region, and said 'We expect to hear from the President the state of that project.'

Source: Ghana News Agency