Ghana: May Day, World Press Freedom Day celebrations reported in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – Two important international celebrations this week – Workers’ Day (May Day) and the World Press Freedom Day – were highlighted by the Ghanaian media this week.

The state-owned Graphic newspaper played up President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s speech at the main May Day parade in Accra on Monday under headline, “Change negative work attitudes - Prez tells workers at May Day Parade.”

The story said the president admonished workers to end negative attitudes that militated against national development, adding that the change that all Ghanaians wanted to see could only become attainable with a positive change in attitude to work.

“We all avoid very carefully any mention of the workplace attitudes that retard our progress...we arrive at work late and then spend the first hour in prayer; we are clock watchers and leave in the middle of critical work, because it is the official closing time. Everything comes to a stop when it rains, and we seem to expect the rest of the world also to stop.

“We have no respect for the hours set aside for work… we pray, we eat, we visit during working hours. We spend hours chatting on the telephone when customers are waiting to be served, thereby increasing our labour costs. We take a week off for every funeral. And then we wonder why we are not competitive.”

The workers carried placards with inscriptions, such as, “Mr President, time for National Cancer Policy,” “Reduce overtime tax now,” “Pay teachers’ salary arrears,” “Jobs and more jobs,” and “We need more money.”

President Akufo-Addo said there was a particularly pernicious attitude to property at workplaces where there was the petty stealing of paper, envelopes, tea, milk and other items.

The President said that he was counting on the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (GTUC) to lead the campaign for a change in attitude to work and increase in productivity.

The Graphic, in another story under the headline, “Economic mismanagement cause of Ghana’s woes — TUC Sec. Gen,” reported that the Secretary General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), Dr Yaw Baah, attributed the current numerous socio-economic challenges to economic mismanagement.

He said many Ghanaians had already lost hope in the future but expressed optimism that it was never too late to chart another path that would take the country out of the shackles of hopelessness to a path of greatness full of hope and prosperity. Dr Baah said joblessness among the youth was a great challenge facing the country.

After 60 years of independence, he said, a significant number of Ghanaians could not afford decent housing, education and basic health care for their children.

“Pres. raps unproductive workers,” was the headline of the state-owned Ghanaian Times on the May Day parade.

It reported that President Akufo-Addo lashed out at workers over unsatisfactory attitudes at the workplace.

The newspaper said the President, in a rather blunt and thought-provoking address, said the country’s progress and productivity level had been retarded over the years due to the attitude of some workers.

He said employees showed no inclination to protect the things in their offices and factories, and were extremely reluctant to stand up for what was generally known to be right in the workplace.

President Akufo-Addo lashed out at local contractors who shoddily constructed projects and other infrastructure for public use.

“The workers on the roads, the contractors and the consultants all conspire to deliver the shoddy work that prevents us from getting to where we ought to be,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo said the country’s hospitality industry did not match that of its competitors and added that many Ghanaians, sadly, accepted poor service as a norm.

In another story under the headline, “NDC: Workers’ conditions worsen,” the Ghanaian Times said the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) accused the government of superintending over developments that had worsened the plight of the Ghanaian worker, since it assumed office.

The NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, in a statement, said government had “supervised” the sharp increase in the prices of goods and services and a corresponding increase in the cost of living.

The NDC said the government had failed to reduce the cost of utilities and fuel in spite of its pre-election campaign promises to that effect.

The NDC also condemned what it said was the government’s penchant for dismissing thousands of Ghanaians from their jobs and replacing them with their favourites.

The Graphic, in another story, said the Minority in Parliament had condemned some elements in the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) for creating fear and panic among the Ghanaian workforce, adding that this had, to a large extent, limited the friendly working environment that existed before the change of government on 7 January, 2017.

In a statement to commemorate this year’s May Day celebration, the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, said the Akufo-Addo-led government had so far created a system that frustrated the growth of labour.

“It is sad to note that elements associated with this current administration attacked public institutions, forced out workers of these institutions and in many instances physically assaulted these lawful employees all in the name of political takeovers,” the Minority MP said.

“Gov't committed to passing Right to Information Bill – Hamid,” was the headline of the Graphic on a forum on World Press Freedom Day in which it quoted the minister of Information, Mr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, as saying the government was committed to the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill before the end of this year.

Speaking at this year’s World Press Freedom Day at the Ghana International Press Centre in Accra on Wednesday, Mr Hamid said the bill would be placed before Parliament when it resumed sitting this month.

“… when I said that, by the end of this year, the RTI Bill will be passed into law, I meant just that… and to assure you per the calendar that we sent to parliament, by the resumption of parliament, the RTI will be before Parliament for debate and for passage. It is non-negotiable,” he said.

Speaking at the same forum, the Deputy Majority Leader and Minister of State at the Presidency in charge of Public Procurement, Ms Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, said there was much commitment on the part of both the Executive and Legislature to pass the RTI as well as the Broadcasting Bill.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 6May2017

06 may 2017 08:06:03

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